RECOLLECTIONS AND EXPERIENCES
FROM 1855 TO 1865.
Whatsoever ye would- that men should do to you, do ye even so to
*" them." MATT. vii. 12.
ROWSELL AND HUTCHISON.
Entered according to Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year one
thousand eight hundred and seventy-five, by ALEXANDER MILTON Ross,
in the office of the Minister of Agriculture.
PRINTED BY ROWSELL & HUTCHISON,
RECOLLECTIONS AND EXPERIENCES
IS, WITH SENTIMENTS OF PROFOUND HOMAGE AND RESPECT,
HIS IMPERIAL MAJESTY
EMPEROR AND AUTOCRAT OF ALL THE
WHO, OF HIS OWN SOVEREIGN WILL AND PLEASURE, GAVR
TWENTY MILLIONS OF SERFS
OF THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE.
Toronto, May 1875.
THESE Recollections and Experiences are
given to the public in compliance with the
repeated solicitations of many of my coloured
friends, some of whom were personally inter-
ested in the experiences herein recorded.
In the preparation of this narrative, I have
strictly refrained from any attempt at embel-
lishment or amplification, and I have aimed at
accuracy of statement, briefness of description,
and simplicity of style.
A. M. R.
Toronto, May, 1875.
CHAP. I. FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF HUMAN
Uncle Tom's Cabin Preparations for the work
Into the Land of Bondage The work begins
Nine fugitives from bondage At work again
Seven candidates for freedom Twelve hun-
dred dollars reward A poor negro spurns the
reward Arrival in Chicago with a "chattel"
Safe on the soil of Canada First interview
with John Brown His opinion of Abolition-
ists His disappointments Character of John
Brown He leaves for Kansas 1-25
CHAP. II. NEWS FROM THE SOUTH.
Keeping quiet Off to New Orleans Arrival in
New Orleans Slave auctions Horrors of
human slavery At work near Vicksburg
Sowing seed at Selnia In a dangerous position
Into the jaws of death Manacled and in
prison A desperate situation Fidelity of a
slave Released Two passengers by the Under-
ground R. R. Leave Columbus for other fields
At work in Augusta Eleven followers of the
North Star Exciting news Fast travelling to
the North In Washington Two fugitives from
CHAP. III. MEET WITH AX OLD FRIEND.
Second interview with John Brown Letter from
Captain Brown Refugees in Canada Second
letter from John Brown In Richmond Cap-
tain Brown attacks Harper's Ferry Defeat
of Captain Brown Dough-faced Northerners
Effects of Brown's attack Bravery of Captain
Brown John Brown victorious" His soul is
marching on " His martyrdom Interview
with Governor Wise He would like to hang
Giddings and Gerrit Smith Extracts from the
Press Letter from Victor Hugo Whittier's
Poem John Brown song 48-100
CHAP. IV. AT WORK IN KENTUCKY. *>
A wife torn from her husband and sold Liberation
of the wife Crossing the Ohio A Kentuckian
in search of his "chattel" Safe arival of man
and wife in Canada Net results Number of
refugees in Canada The Fugitive Slave Law
Presidential Election of 1860 Republican
* ' Platform ' ' Democratic ' ' Platform ' ' Na-
tional Democratic " Platform " Constitutional
Union " Platform "Electoral vote, Presidential
election Secession of South Carolina 110-130
CHAP. V. THE SLAVEHOLDERS' REBELLION.
Confidential sei'vice in Canada Confederates in Can-
ada Rebel postal service Arrest of a rebel mail
carrier Interview with President Lincoln
Confiscated rebel despatches Rebels in New
Brunswick Mr. Lincoln's favourite poem Off
to New Brunswick Occupy a room with a
rebel War on the New Brunswick frontier
Arrest of a rebel officer Persecution of
Joshua R. Giddings His arrest Death of Mr.
Giddings Steps toward emancipation The
Emancipation Proclamation Republican Plat-
form of 1864 Lincoln's Second Inaugural Ad-
dress (March 4, 1866) Constitutional Amend-
ment, Article XIII 132-16&
CHAP. VI. EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS.
Letters from William H. Seward, Joshua R. Gid-
dings, Horace Greeley, Gerrit Smith, Wendell
Phillips, Charles Sumner, George B. Lincoln,
Governor Fenton, Wm. Lloyd Garrison, John
G. Whittier, W. C. Bryant, G. Garibaldi,
Victor Hugo 167-17
CHAP. VII. EFFORTS TO AROUSE KINDLY
FEELINGS IN CANADA IN FAVOUR OF
Slaveholders' Rebellion, its Internal Causes The
Rights of Man In Memory of Joshua R. Gid-
dings Slavery in the Southern States Re-
marks before the " Society for the Abolition of
Slavery " American Reconstruction Reorga-
nization of the Southern States American
Politics The Blacks in Canada Position of
the Freedmen in the South Why I Desire the
Success of the North Ratification of the Con-
stitutional Amendment and Proclamation of
Freedom . 180-228
EECOLLECTIONS AND EXPERIENCES
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF HUMAN SLAVERY.
first impressions of human slavery
were derived from the published
speeches and writings of Wilberforce,
Brougham, and other English abolitionists, which
I read in my youth, and in later years from the
eloquent appeals for the freedom of the enslaved,
made by Wendell Phillips, William Lloyd Gar-
rison, Theodore Parker, and Gerrit Smith. The
impulses gained from the above sources excited
my sympathies, and impelled me to seek for
further and more practical information as to the
workings of the institution of slavery in the
2 Recollections and Experiences
American Republic. I had not far to seek for
the desired knowledge, for there were in Canada
hundreds of escaped slaves, living witnesses to
the hideous barbarity of that wicked institution.
From them I heard heart-rending stories of the
cruelties practised upon the poor oppressed
coloured people of the Slave States. In proof
of their statements I was shown the indelible
marks of the lash and branding-iron upon their
These refugees were, as a general rule, superior
specimens of their race, and possessed qualities,
in the majority of cases, which fitted them for
all the duties of citizenship. Many of those I
conversed with were quite intelligent, having
held positions as coachmen, house servants, and
body servants to their masters, and the informa-
tion I obtained from them enabled me, in after
years, to render some service to their friends
UNCLE TOM'S CABIN.
While I was engaged in my inquiries among
the coloured people of Canada, Mrs. Stowe's
work, " Uncle Tom's Cabin," was published, and
excited the sympathies of every humane person
who read it, in behalf of the oppressed. To me
Of an Abolitionist. 3
it was a command ; and a settled conviction took
possession of my mind, that it was my duty to
help the oppressed to freedom, to "remember
them in bonds, as bound with them." My reso-
lution was taken, to devote all the energies of
my life to " let the oppressed go free."
I had learned from the refugees in Canada
that there existed in the Northern States relief
organizations, formed for the purpose of extend-
ing aid to fugitives from bondage. I also gath-
ered from the same sources much information
relative to the various secret routes leading
from the Slave States to Canada, as well as the
names and addresses of many good friends of
freedom in the States of Ohio, Pennsylvania,
and Michigan, who cheerfully gave shelter and
aid to the escaped slaves whose objective point
was Canada the Land of Liberty for the slaves
of the American Republic.
PREPARATION FOR THE WORK.
In November, 1856, I left Canada to prepare
for the work which had absorbed my thoughts for
years. A prominent abolitionist of Northern
New York had invited me to visit his home, and
confer with him in respect to the best way of
accomplishing the most good for the cause we
4 Recollections and Experiences
both had at heart. From this noble philanthropist
and true Christian I obtained most valuable and
interesting information as to the workings of the
different organizations having for their object
the liberation from bondage of the slaves of the
South. He accompanied me to Boston, New
York, and Philadelphia. I was introduced to
many liberty-loving men and women, whose
time, talents, and means, were devoted to the
cause of freedom. The contact with such noble,
enthusiastic minds, imbued with an undying
hatred and detestation of that foul blot on the
escutcheon of their country, served to strengthen
my resolution and fortify me for the labour before
me. I was initiated into a knowledge of the
relief societies, and the methods adopted to
circulate information among the slaves of the
South ; the routes to be taken by the slaves,
after reaching the so-called Free States ; the
relief posts, where shelter and aid for transpor-
tation could be obtained.
The poor fugitive who had run the gauntlet of
slave-hunters and blood-hounds was not safe,
even after he had crossed the boundary line
between the Slave and Free States, for the
slave-drivers of the South and their allies,
the democrats of the North, held control of
the United States Government at that time ; and
Of an Abolitionist. 5
under the provisions of the iniquitous " Fugitive
Slave Law," the North was compelled to act as
a police detective for the capture and return to
slavery of the fugitives from the Slave States.
My excellent friend also accompanied me to
Ohio and Indiana, where I made the personal
acquaintance of friends in those States who, at
risk of life and property, gave shelter to the
fugitives, and assisted them in reaching Canada.
READY FOR THE WORK.
On my return to Philadelphia I made the
necessary preparations for work in the Southern
In undertaking this enterprise I did not dis-
guise from myself the dangers I would most
certainly have to encounter, and the certainty
that a speedy, and perhaps cruel, death would be
my lot, in case my plans and purposes were
discovered. And not only would my own life be
exposed, but also the lives of those I sought to
My kind friends in Boston and Philadelphia
had warned me of the dangers that were in my
path ; and many of them urged me to seek
other and less dangerous channels wherein to aid
6 Recollections and Experiences
the oppressed. I felt convinced, however, that
the only effectual way to help the slaves was,
to aid them in escaping from bondage. To
accomplish that, it was necessary to go to them,
advise them, and give them practical assistance.
With a few exceptions the negroes were in ab-
solute ignorance of every thing beyond the
boundary of their plantation or town.
The circulation of information among the
slaves would also have a certain tendency to
create a feeling of independence in the minds of
the negroes, which, ultimately, would lead to
insurrection, and perhaps the destruction of the
institution of slavery.
At length all my preparations were completed,
and I was ready to enter the land of bondage,
and discharge, to the best of my ability, the duty
that rested upon me.
Two years had passed since I had finished
reading Mrs. Stowe's work, and the resolution
which I then made, to devote my energies to
" let the oppressed go free," was still fresh and
Before leaving Philadelphia a mutual under-
standing was arranged between my friends and
Of an Abolitionist. 7
myself in respect to confidential correspondence,
by which it was understood that the term " hard-
ware," was to mean males ; and " dry-goods,"
females. I was to notify my friends in Phila-
delphia (if possible) whenever a package of "hard-
ware" or "dry-goods" was started for freedom;
and they in turn warned the friends in Ohio and
Pennsylvania to be on the look-out for runaways.
INTO THE LAND OF BONDAGE.
On a beautiful morning in April, 1857, I
crossed the Potomac en route for Richmond.
My outfit was compact, and contained in a small
valise. The only weapon I had, was a small
revolver, which had been presented to me by a
Bostonian, who, in after years, honoured the
office of Governor of Massachusetts.
On arriving in Richmond I went to the house
of a gentleman to whom I had been directed,
and who was known in the North to be a friend
to the slaves. I spent a few weeks in quietly
looking around, and determining upon the best
plans to adopt.
THE WORK BEGINS.
Having finally decided upon my course, I
invited a number of the most intelligent, active,
8 Recollections and Experiences
and reliable slaves, to meet me at the house of
a coloured preacher, on a Sunday evening-.
On the night appointed for this meeting forty-
two slaves came to hear what prospect there was
for their escape from bondage. I shook each by
the hand, asked their name, age, and whether
married or single. I had never before seen, at
one time, so many coloured men together, and I
was struck with their individuality and general
kindness and consideration for each other. I
then explained to them my object and purposes
in visiting the Slave States. I also carefully
explained to them the various routes from Vir-
ginia to Ohio and Pennsylvania, and the names
of friends in border towns who would help them
on to Canada. I requested them to circulate
this information discreetly among all upon whom
they could rely. Thus, each of my hearers
became an agent in the good work. I then told
them that if any of their number chose to make
the attempt to gain their freedom, in the face of
all the obstacles and dangers in their path, that
I would supply them with weapons to defend
themselves, in case any attempt was made to
deprive them of their right to freedom ; and
also, as much food as they could conveniently
carry. I requested as many as were ready to
accept my offer, to come to the same house on
the following Sunday evening.
Of an Abolitionist. 9
NINE FUGITIVES FROM BONDAGE.
On the evening appointed nine stout, intelli-
gent young men had declared their determination
to gain their freedom, or die in the attempt. To
each I gave a few dollars in money, a pocket
compass, a knife, and as much cold meat and bread
as each could carry with ease. I again carefully
explained to them the route, and the names of
friends along the border upon whom they could
rely for shelter and assistance. I never met
more apt students than these poor fellows ; and
their " Yes, massa, I know it now," was assurance
that they did. They were to travel only by
night, resting in some secure spot during the day.
Their route was to be through Pennsylvania to
Erie, on Lake Erie, and from thence to Canada.
I bid them good bye with an anxious heart, for
well I knew the dangers they had to encounter.
I learned many months after that they all arrived
safely in Canada. (In 1863, I enlisted three of
these brave fellows in a coloured regiment in
Philadelphia, for service in the war that gave
freedom to their race). Two of my Richmond
pupils were married men, and left behind them
wives and children. The wife of one made her
escape, and reached Canada within six months
after her husband gained his liberty. (I visited
their happy little home, in Chatham, Canada, in
io Recollections and Experiences
after years, and was delighted to find them
prosperous and contented).
AT WORK AGAIN.
The day following the departure of my little
band of fugitives from Richmond, I left for
Nashville, in the State of Tennessee, which I
decided should be my next field of labour.
On my arrival in Nashville I went direct to the
residence of a Quaker lady, well known for her
humane and charitable disposition toward the
coloured people. When I informed her of my
success in Richmond, and that I intended to
pursue the same course in Nashville, she ex-
pressed great anxiety for my safety. But finding
that I was determined to make the attempt, she
sent for an old free negro, and advised me
to trust him implicitly. This good man was
nearly eighty years of age, and had the con-
fidence of all the coloured people for miles
around Nashville. He lived a short distance
outside the city limits. At his house he preached
to such of the slaves as were disposed and
could attend, every Sunday evening. I requested
him to invite as many of the most reliable and
intelligent of the slaves as he could to meet
me at his house on the next Sunday evening.
On the evening appointed I found thirteen
Of an Abolitionist. II
fine able-bodied men assembled to see and hear
an abolitionist. Seldom have I seen a finer or
more intelligent looking lot of coloured men
than those that composed my little audience on
that occasion ; their ages ranged from 18 to 30.
Some of them were very black, while others
were mulattoes, and two of them had straight
hair, and were very light-coloured ; but all
of them had an earnest and intelligent look.
My host volunteered to stand guard out-
side the house, to prevent interruption and to
intercept any friendly or evil minded callers.
I talked to my hearers earnestly and practically
for two hours, explaining the condition and
prospects of the coloured people in Canada, the
obstacles and dangers they would have to
encounter, the route to be taken, and the names
of friends, north of the Ohio river, to whom they
could safely apply for aid to help them on to
Canada. No lecturer ever had a more intensely
earnest audience than I had that evening. I
gathered them close around me, so that I could
look each in the face, and give emphasis to my
instructions. In conclusion, I told them that I
should remain in Nashville until after the follow-
ing Sunday evening, when as many as felt
disposed to make the attempt to gain their free-
dom could meet me in the same house at 9 p.m.
I requested those who would decide to leave
1 2 Recollections and Experiences
on that night to inform their old friend before
the next FYiday, that I might make some pro-
vision for their long and perilous journey.
Early in the week I received word from five ;
and by Friday evening two more had decided
to make the attempt to obtain liberty.
At 9 o'clock, on the Sunday evening ap-
pointed, I was promptly at the house of my
friend. He again stood guard. It was nearly
10 o'clock before I heard the signal agreed upon
" scratching upon the door." I unlocked the
door, when in stepped four men, followed soon
after by three others. They were all young men
and unmarried. I asked each if he had fully
determined to make the attempt ; and receiving
an affirmative reply, I very carefully explained
to them the routes to be taken, the dangers they
might expect to encounter, and the friends upon
whom they could call for aid. To each I gave
a pistol, a knife, a pair of shoes, a compass, and to
their leader twenty dollars in money. They
were also supplied with as much food as they
could conveniently carry.
SEVEN CANDIDATES FOR FREEDOM.
At midnight I bid them good-bye ; and these
brave-hearted fellows, with tears in their eyes,
Of an Abolitionist. 13
and hearts swelling with thankfulness toward me,
started for the land of freedom. I advised them
to travel by night only, to keep together, and
not use their pistols except in absolute necessity.
Next morning I called upon my Quaker friend
and informed her of the result of my labours in
Nashville. She expressed her delight and satis-
faction ; but feared for my safety, if I remained
in the city after the escape of the slaves became
That evening I sent letters to friends in
Evansville, Cincinnati, and Cleveland, to keep a
sharp lookout for " packages of hardware."
As I was leaving the Post Office a man
handed me a small printed bill, which an-
nounced the escape of thirteen slaves from
Richmond ; but nine only were described, toge-
ther with the names of their owners. A reward
of $1,000 was offered for their capture and
return to Richmond. I now thought it was
time for me to leave for other fields of labour.
Early next day I bade farewell to my kind
Quaker friend, and started for Memphis. On
my arrival there I sought the house of an anti-
slavery man to whom I had been directed. The
husband was absent from home, but the good
14 Recollections and Experiences
wife received me most kindly, and urged me to
make her house my home during my stay in the
city. I felt, however, that I had no right to
expose the family to trouble and suspicion, in
case I got into difficulty. I went to a hotel,
and being tired and weary, laid down upon a
couch to rest, and must have fallen asleep, for I
was aroused by the shouting of a newsboy under
my window. The burthen of his cry was, the
escape of several slaves from Nashville in one
night. I opened the window, and told the boy
to bring a paper up to my room. The news
was as follows :
TWELVE HUNDRED DOLLARS REWARD.
"Great excitement in Nashville Escape of
seven first-class slave-men, by the aid of an
abolitionist who had been seen prowling about
the city for several days previous." Three hun-
dred dollars reward was offered for the capture
and return of each of the slaves, and twelve
hundred dollars for the apprehension of the
" accursed" abolitionist ; then followed a descrip-
tion of the slaves, and a very good description
of myself, considering that I had kept very close
during my stay in Nashville. At a glance I saw
the danger of my position, and determined to
leave the hotel at once, which I did ; returning
to the house I had first visited, I told the good
Of an A bolitionist. 1 5
wife my position. The paper, which contained
the exciting news, also contained the announce-
ment that a steamer would leave for St. Louis
that night at nine o'clock. It was now three.
Six long hours to remain in the very jaws of
death ! I made enquiries for the house of a
coloured man, upon whom my old coloured
friend in Nashville told me I could rely.
Having received the proper direction, I went
to his humble dwelling, and mentioning the
name of his old friend at Nashville, he cor-
dially welcomed me. He was a fine looking
man, with honest eyes, open countenance, and of
more than ordinary intelligence, for one of his
race. I handed him the paper, and pointed to
the reward for my apprehension. When he read
the exciting news, he grasped my hand and said,
" Massa, I'd die to save you ; what shall we do ?"
I told him I had determined to leave by nine
o'clock that night, if possible, on the steamboat
for St. Louis, and asked permission to remain
in his house until the arrival of the steamer.
The noble fellow placed his house, and all he
possessed at my command. On many occa-
sions I have placed my life in the hands of
coloured men without the slightest hesitation or
fear of betrayal.
1 6 Recollections and Experiences
A POOR NEGRO SPURNS THE REWARD.
This poor despised negro held in his hand a
a paper offering a reward of $1,200 for my cap-
ture. He was a labouring man, earning his
bread by the sweat of his brow ; and yet I felt
perfectly safe, and implicitly trusted this poor
man with my life. In fact, I felt safer in his house
than I should have felt in the house of a certain
Vice-President of the U. S., who, in more recent
times sold himself for a similar amount. This
poor oppressed negro, had everything to gain by
surrendering me into the hands of the slave-
masters, and yet he spurned the reward, and
was faithful to the trust I had placed in him.
Night was now approaching, and my friend
suggested the propriety of shaving off my whis-
kers and changing my dress. While engaged
making these alterations I overheard an animated
conversation, in the adjoining room, between my
host and a female. The woman earnestly beg-
ged of him to ask me to take her to Canada,
where her husband then was. The poor man told
her my life was already in great danger, and that
I might be captured and killed, if she was
seen with me ; but still she continued to beg.
When I had completed my change of appear-
ance, he came into the room, and told me
Of an Abolitionist. 17
that in the next room was a coloured woman
that had lately fled from her master on account
of his cruelty to her. I told him to bring her in,
and let me talk with her. She was about thirty-
five years old, and a light mulatto, of bright, intel-
ligent appearance. She told me of the escape of
her husband to Canada about two years pre-
viously, and of her master's cruelty in beating
her, because she refused to marry a negro whom
he had selected for her. She showed me her
back, which was still raw and seamed with deep
gashes, where the lash of her cruel master's
whip had ploughed up her flesh. She earnestly
implored me to take her to Canada. I told my
friend to dress her in male attire, so that she
might accompany me in the capacity of valet,
and that I would make the attempt to take her
to Canada. The poor creature gladly accepted
the offer, and was soon ready for the journey.
I gave her the name of " Sam," and myself
the title of " Mr. Smith, of Kentucky." At half-
past eight, p.m., we left the house of my faithful
friend, and started for the boat, "Sam" walking
behind me, carrying my valise. Through some
cause or other the boat was detained until near
eleven o'clock. Oh, what hours of misery !
every minute filled with apprehensions of dis-
aster, not only to myself, but to the poor crea-
ture depending upon me. No one, not similarly
1 8 Recollections and Experiences
placed, can imagine the anxiety and dread that
filled my mind during this long delay. The
moments passed so slowly, that they seemed
hours. " Sam" stood near me, looking as anxious
as I felt. At length we got aboard the boat.
I secured tickets for myself and servant for St.
Louis, and when the boat left the levee, I breathed
freer than I had for several hours.
I arrived in St. Louis without the occurrence
of any incident of importance, and sent telegrams
to different points along the Ohio river to friends,
warning them to be on the lookout for fugitives
from Tennessee. I remained in St. Louis but a
few hours, and left for Chicago, accompanied by
my happy servant, whose frequent question,
"Massa, is we near Canada yet," kept me con-
tinually on the alert to prevent her from exposing
herself to arrest.
ARRIVAL IN CHICAGO WITH A CHATTEL.
When we reached Chicago, I took my servant
to the house of a friend of the slave, where
she was properly cared for. It was deemed
prudent, however, that she should continue to
wear male attire until she reached Canada,
for it occasionally occurred that fugitives were
caught in Detroit, and taken back to bondage,
Of an Abolitionist. 19
after having come in sight of the land of pro-
mise. Their proximity to a safe refuge from their
taskmasters, and from the operation of the infa-
mous Fugitive Slave Law, rendered them careless
in their manner, and so happy in appearance,
that they were frequently arrested on suspicion
by the minions of the United States Government,
ever on the w r atch to obey the behests of the
slave power. After a few hours' rest in Chicago,
I left with my charge for Detroit, where I arrived
in due time on the following day ; and, taking
a hack, drove to a friend's house in the suburbs
of the city. Here I made arrangements to be
rowed across the river to Windsor, Canada, in
a small boat, as soon as darkness would render
our passage safe. I also sent telegrams to friends
in London, Chatham, and Amherstburg, to ascer-
tain the whereabouts of her husband, and finally
heard that he was working in a barber shop in
SAFE ON THE SOIL OF CANADA.
At night the poor fugitive and myself were
taken silently over the river that separated the
land of freedom from the land of slavery. Not
a word was spoken until we touched the soil of
Canada. I then told her that she was now a
free woman, and no one could now deprive her of
2O Recollections and Experiences
her right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of hap-
piness." She dropped on her knees, and uttered
a sincere prayer to the Almighty to protect and
bless me for bringing her to Canada. I took her
to the house of a friend, and on the following day
sent her to London, where she and her husband
were united, after a separation of two years.
(In 1863 I dined with them at their pretty little
home, which they had paid for with the proceeds
of their industry and thrift). Returning to De-
troit I took the cars for Cleveland. On my
arrival there I received a telegram from Boston
informing me that Capt. John Brown, of Kansas,
would meet me in Cleveland in a day or two,
and that he desired to confer with me on a
subject of importance, connected with the Anti-
FIRST INTERVIEW WITH JOHN BROWN.
On the evening of my third day in Cleveland,
while seated in my room at the hotel, a gentle
tap at my door aroused me ; I said, " come in "
(thinking it was a servant) ; the door opened,
and in walked a plain, farmer-like looking man
a stranger, but with a remarkable countenance,
strongly indicative of intelligence, coolness, tena-
city of purpose, and honesty. He appeared
about five feet ten inches in height, slender, but
Of an Abolitionist. 21
wiry and tough ; his glance keen, steady, and
honest ; his step light, quick, and firm. He was,
although simply and plainly dressed, a man of
remarkable appearance ; no close observer would
pass him on the street without making that
observation. He introduced himself as "John
Brown, of Kansas," and handed me several
letters from friends in Boston and Philadelphia.
While I was engaged reading the letters, and
occasionally asking a question in reference to
their contents, he was closely examining a
revolver of mine which he had found on my
bureau. When I had finished reading the letters
he remarked, " How very strange that you should
have a pistol exactly like one I have in my
pocket," which he produced. They were, indeed,
fellows in every respect, and presented to us by
the same generous Bostonian. Capt. Brown
remained with me until after midnight, eagerly
listening to a narrative of my trip through Vir-
ginia and Tennessee, and in relating incidents
connected with his labours in Kansas. His
manner and conversation produced a magnetic
influence which rendered him very attractive, and
stamped him as a man of more than ordinary
coolness, tenacity of purpose, and devotion to
what he considered right. He was, in my estima-
tion, a Christian in the full sense of that word.
22 Recollections and Experiences
No idle, profane, or immodest word fell from his
lips. He was deeply in earnest in the work, in
which he believed himself a special instrument in
the hands of God. During our long (and to me
deeply interesting) interview, which lasted from
8 p.m. until 3 in the morning, he related many
incidents of his life bearing upon the subject of
slavery. He said he had for many years been
studying the guerilla system of warfare adopted
in the mountainous portions of Italy and Swit-
zerland ; that he could, with a small body of
picked men, inaugurate and maintain a negro
insurrection in the mountains of Virginia, which
would produce so much annoyance to the United
States Government, and create such a feeling of
dread and insecurity in the minds of slave-
holders, that slavery would ultimately be abol-
HIS OPINION OF ABOLITIONISTS.
Capt. Brown had little respect for that class
of abolitionists who, from their abodes of safety
in the North, spoke so bravely in behalf of
the oppressed coloured people of the Slave
States, but who took good care to keep their
precious bodies north of the Potomac. He
stoutly maintained that the only way to
abolish slavery was by conveying to the slaves
Of an Abolitionist. 23
such information as would aid them in making
their escape to Canada, and by encouraging
insurrection among the slaves ; thus producing
feelings of dread and uncertainty in the minds
of slaveholders, that would end in the eman-
cipation of the slaves.
John Brown was now returning to Kansas, from
the Eastern States, where he had been for several
weeks trying to collect means to carry on the
war in Kansas. He said he had found by expe-
rience that those abolitionists who made the
most noise from the pulpits and lecture-rooms,
were the last to offer a dollar toward any prac-
tical means for the liberation of the slaves. He
had met with disappointment in the East, and
felt it most keenly. He had sacrificed his own
peace and comfort, and the peace and comfort of
his family, in obedience to his sincere convic-
tions of duty toward the oppressed people of the
South, while those who had the means to help
him make war upon the oppressor, were luke-
warm or declined to aid him in his warfare.
CHARACTER OF JOHN BROWN.
I have been in the presence of many men
whom the world called great and distinguished,
24 Recollections and Experiences
but never before or since have I met a greater
or more remarkable man than Capt. John Brown.
There was manifest, in all he said and did, an
absorbing intensity of purpose, controlled by
lofty moral principles. He was a devout Chris-
tian ; and sincerely believed himself a chosen
instrument in the hands of God to let the
oppressed go free.
HE LEAVES FOR KANSAS.
Capt. Brown left me at an early hour in the
morning, to take the cars for Kansas. Before
parting I urged him to accept from me a portion
of my funds, to aid him in the purchase of
material for his Kansas work. This he did
reluctantly, expressing his fears that I was
depriving m} 7 self of the means to continue my
NEWS FROM THE SOUTH.
|HE excitement in Richmond and Nash-
ville, consequent upon the escape of
so many valuable slaves, extended to
the surrounding country. In the reading
room of the hotel at which I was stopping, I
picked up a Richmond paper, which contained a
lengthy account of the escape of slaves from
Richmond, Nashville, and other parts of the
South. The writer stated that a general
impression prevailed in that community, that
a regularly organized band of abolitionists
existed in the South, which supplied the negroes
with information and means to escape to
Canada. The authorities were urged to offer
a large reward for the apprehension of the
"cursed negro thieves" that infested the South,
and that an example should be made of such as
were caught, as would for ever deter others from
interference with the rights of the South.
26 Recollections and Experiences
I concluded it would be better for the cause,
I tried to serve, that no further attempt should
be made until the present excitement in the
South quieted down. From Cleveland I went
to Philadelphia, where I remained until Novem-
ber, 1857. During my stay in that city
I was busily occupied in collecting statis-
tics of the slave populations of the different
Slave States, and in consulting with various
friends as to the best methods of circulating
information among the slaves of the Cotton
Any one acquainted with the institution of
slavery, as it existed in the Gulf States, will fully
appreciate the difficulties that environed such an
enterprise as the one I now contemplated that
of conveying direct to the slaves a knowledge of
the best routes, the distances to be traversed,
difficulties to be overcome, and the fact that they
had friends in the Border States to whom they
could apply for aid, and on whom they could
implicitly rely for assistance to forward them to
Canada. Of all the dangers to myself that
loomed up before my mind, the last and the
least was the fear of betrayal by the slaves.
Once they became satisfied of your friendship
Of an Abolitionist. 27
and your desire to help them escape from
bondage, they would willingly suffer torture or
death to protect you. Such, at least, has been
my experience with the negroes of the Slave
OFF FOR NEW ORLEANS.
Early in the month of December, 1857, I left
New York, by steamer, for New Orleans, on a
mission, the subject and details of which had
occupied my mind exclusively for many months.
I was accompanied to the steamer by two
noble-hearted and steadfast friends of freedom.
One of these friends (a resident of the interior
of New York State) had been my principal
supporter, and active and unflinching friend
from the commencement of my career as an
abolitionist. The other, was a resident of
Brooklyn, a prominent philanthropist, long
identified with the abolitionists of the North.
All my correspondence, while in the Slave
States, was to be sent to them. Whenever a
slave succeeded in making his or her escape
I was to send them the information, and they
in turn notified our friends north of the Ohio
river to be on the lookout for " packages of hard-
ware" (men) or "dry goods" (females), and these
Ohio friends concealed the fugitives for a time,
28 Recollections and Experiences
if necessary, until they could be safely sent to
Canada. In many parts of Ohio, Michigan,
Indiana, and Pennsylvania, we had fast friends,
in the majority of cases belonging to the Society
of Quakers, whose doors were always open to
the poor fugitive from bondage, and whose hearts
were open to the fugitive's appeal for help.
ARRIVAL IN NEW ORLEANS.
On my arrival in New Orleans I secured
board with a private family, and began my
preparations for work in the interior of the
country. From childhood I had been passion-
ately fond of the study of Natural History,
especially of Ornithology. I consequently deci-
ded to follow the pursuit of a naturalist, as a
guise to my actual object.
During my stay in New Orleans I occasion-
ally attended the slave auctions. The scenes
I witnessed there will never be effaced from my
memory. The horrid traffic in human beings,
many of them much whiter and more intelli-
gent than the cruel men who bought and sold
them, was, without exception, the most mon-
strous outrage upon the rights of a human being
that can possibly be conceived of. The cries
Of an Abolitionist. 2 9
and heart-rending agonies of the poor creatures
as they were sold and separated from parents,
children, husbands, or wives, will never cease to
ring in my ears. Babes were torn from the arms
of their mothers and sold, while parents were
separated and sent to distant parts of the
country. I have seen tired and overworked
women cruelly beaten because they refused the
outrageous demands of their wicked overseers.
HORRORS OF HUMAN SLAVERY.
My experience in New Orleans served to
intensify my abhorrence and hatred toward that
vile and unchristian institution of slavery, and
to nerve me for the work I was engaged in. On
several occasions I attended divine worship, and
I invariably noticed that whenever the subject
of slavery was mentioned, it was referred to as
a "wise and beneficent institution"; and one
clergyman in particular declared that " the insti-
tution of slavery \$&s devised by God for the
especial benefit of the coloured race."
Finally my preparations were completed, and,
supplied with a shot gun, and materials for
preserving bird-skins, I began my journey into
the interior of the country.
3O Recollections and Experiences
The route I had decided upon was from New
Orleans to Vicksburg, and thence through the
interior of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South
Carolina, North Carolina, and Florida. I had
never before visited that part .of the United
States, and my field of labour was consequently
surrounded by difficulties not experienced during
my visit to Virginia and Tennessee, from the
fact that I had not a single friend in the Cotton
AT WORK NEAR VICKSBURG.
On my arrival at Vicksburg I obtained board
in a private family, and was soon busily
engaged in collecting ornithological specimens.
I made frequent visits to the surrounding plan-
tations, seizing every favourable opportunity to
converse with the more intelligent of the
slaves. Many of these negroes had heard of
Canada from the negroes brought from Vir-
ginia, and the border Slave States ; but the
impression they had was, that Canada was so
far away that it would be useless to try and reach
it. I was usually accompanied on these excur-
sions by one or two smart, intelligent slaves,
to whom I felt I could trust the secret of
my visit. In this way I succeeded in circulating
a knowledge of Canada, and the best means of
Of an Abolitionist. 31
reaching that country, to all the plantations for
many miles around Vicksburg. I was often
surprised at the rapidity with which informa-
tion was conveyed to the slaves of distant
plantations. Thus, on every plantation I had
missionaries who were secretly conveying the
intelligence to the poor downtrodden slaves of
that benighted region, that in Canada there
were hundreds of negroes who had, through
the aid of friends along the border, escaped from
slavery, and were now free men and women.
No one but a slave can fully appreciate the
true meaning of the word freedom.
I continued my labours in the vicinity of
Vicksburg for two months, and then went to
SOWING SEED AT SELMA.
I made this place my base for extensive excur-
sions to the surrounding country, pursuing a
similar course to that I adopted at Vicksburg.
My ornithological collection had by this time
assumed respectable and interesting proportions,
and some of the planters became so much inter-
ested in my apparent pursuit, as to offer me every
facility to roam over their plantations, of which I
32 Recollections and Experiences
availed myself. I had my choice of assistants
from among the slaves, and selected those pos-
sessing qualities suitable for my purpose. There
was not a plantation within fifteen miles of
Selma that I did not visit successfully. The
seed planted at Vicksburg and Selma fell upon
rich soil, the products of which rapidly spread
throughout the Gulf States, as was plainly
evinced at the time of the Harper's Ferry inva-
sion, when the planters in the interior of the
South were surprised to find that their slaves
were well informed about Canada, and the pur-
poses and efforts of friends in the North to aid
them in escaping from bondage.
IN A DANGEROUS POSITION.
Having completed my labours at Selma,
I selected Columbus, Mississippi, for my next
field of labour. I had been at work in Columbus
about two weeks when a difficulty occurred
which, but for the faithfulness of a negro, would
have ended in my death at the hands of an
infuriated mob. During one of my visits to a
plantation near Columbus, I met with a negro
slave of more than ordinary intelligence. His
master was a man of coarse and brutal instincts,
who had burned the initials of his name into the
flesh of several of his slaves, to render their
Of an Abolitionist. N 33
capture more certain in case they attempted to
escape from this merciless wretch. I saw several
of the victims of his cruelty, whose backs would
forever bear the marks of his branding iron
and lash. He was a veritable " Legree." On
one of my excursions over his plantation I was
accompanied by the slave mentioned. During
our rambles he gave me a history of his life and
sufferings, and expressed an earnest desire to
gain his freedom. I felt that he could be relied
upon, and imparted to him the secret object of
my visit to the South. He listened with absorb-
ing earnestness while I explained to him the
difficulties and dangers he would have to encoun-
ter on so long and perilous a journey. He, how-
ever, declared his determination to make the
attempt, saying, that death itself was preferable to
his present existence. On the following day
(Saturday) I again visited the plantation, and
selected this slave for my companion. He
informed me he had decided to start for Canada,
as soon as he could communicate with a brother,
who was a slave on a plantation a few miles
distant. He wished to take this brother with
him, if possible. I gave him instructions for
his guidance after he should cross the Ohio river ;
the names of friends at Evansville (Ind.), and
Cleveland (Ohio), to whom he could apply for
assistance. I also furnished him with a pistol,
34 Recollections and Experiences
knife, and pocket compass, and directed him
to travel by night only until he reached friends
north of the Ohio river.
INTO THE JAWS OF DEATH.
On the following Monday evening, while
seated at the supper table of the hotel at which
I was stopping, I heard loud and excited talking
in the adjoining room. In a few minutes the
landlord came up to me with an excited look,
and said, " Col. wishes to speak with
you. You had better go out and meet him."
I immediately rose, and went into the room
from which the loud talking emanated. As I
entered, the Colonel, in a loud and brutal tone,
said, " That's him, arrest him," Upon which a
man stepped up and said, " You are my prisoner."
I demanded the reason why I was arrested.
Whereupon the doughty Colonel strode toward
me with his fist clenched, and charged me with
being a d d abolitionist; and said he would
have my heart's blood ; that I had enticed away
his nigger "Joe ;" that the nigger had not been
seen since he went out with me on the previous
The room was filled with an excited crowd
of men, who glared upon me with fierce and
Of an Abolitionist. 35
fiendish looks. I tried to keep cool, but I con-
fess I felt that my work was done. I knew the
character of the Colonel, and also knew, that
he possessed much influence with the worst class
of Southerners of that section.
MANACLED AND IN PRISON.
In the meantime the constable had produced
a pair of iron handcuffs, and fastened them
around my wrists. After the Colonel had
exhausted his supply of curses and coarse abuse
upon me, for the purpose of exciting the crowd
to hang me, I quietly asked if I would be
allowed to say a few words, at the same time
making a Masonic sign of distress, in hope that
there might be a Mason in that crowd who would
have courage sufficient to sustain my request.
I had no sooner made "the sign of distress,"
than a voice near me said, " Yes, let's hear what
he has to say"; in a moment several others spoke
up and said, "He ought to be allowed to speak.''
I was encouraged, and very quietly said : Gentle-
men, I am a total stranger here, without friends ;
I am your prisoner in irons. You have charged
me with violating your laws; will you act the part
of cowards, by allowing this man (Col. ) to
incite you to commit a murder ; or will you, like
brave men, grant the only request I have to
36 Recollections and Experiences
make, that is, a fair trial before your magistrates.
Several persons at once spoke up in my favour,
among whom was the landlord 'and his brave
I was then, much to the chagrin of the Col-
onel, led to the lock-up, and consigned to a
filthy pen. There I remained all through that
dreary night, fearing to lie down on the straw in
the corner, on account of the number of vermin
that infested it. In fact, I dare not stand still
through fear of being bitten by the rats that
kept running about the floor all night. At
length morning came, and I was taken, hand-
cuffed, weary, hungry, and filled with dread,
(of what appeared my impending fate), before
A DESPERATE SITUATION.
A crowd of people had gathered to see
an abolitionist have the mockery of a trial.
Col. "Legree" was asked by the Justice to state
his case, which he did in true slave-driving style,
as if determined to force the case against me.
In fact, my case seemed hopeless. I saw no
way of escape from my desperate situation. On
every side I was surrounded by men apparently
thirsting for my blood, and anxious to vindicate
the outraged laws of the State of Mississippi.
Of an Abolitionist. 37
At length the Colonel finished his statement,
which, reduced to simple facts, was, that I
had called at his residence on Saturday last,
and requested permission to roam over his
plantation to shoot birds ; that he had given
me permission, and allowed his servant "Joe" to
accompany me; that "Joe" had not returned,
nor could he be found ; that he was sure I had
aided him to escape ; and demanded of the Jus-
tice that I should be punished as a "negro
thief" deserved. His remarks were" loudly ap-
plauded by the slave-hounds that surrounded
The Justice turned to me, and in a stern voice
said, " Have you any thing to say ?"
At this moment a voice outside the room
shouted, " Here's Joe ! Here's Joe !" and a rush
was made toward the door.
FIDELITY OF A SLAVE.
" Joe" was ushered into the court room, and
fell on his knees before the Colonel, asking his
forgiveness for leaving the plantation without
permission. He said he wanted to see his
brother "powerful bad," and had gone to the
plantation on which his brother lived, about
38 Recollections and Experiences
eight miles distant, on Saturday night, expecting
to return by Sunday evening ; but having
sprained his ancle, he could not move until
Monday evening, when he started for home,
travelling nearly all night. As soon as he
reached the Colonel's, he was told of my arrest,
and early that morning had come into Columbus
to help me. The Justice ordered the constable
to release me at once, and expressed his regret
that I had been subjected to so much annoyance.
The Colonel was completely chopfallen at the
turn affairs had taken, while I was surrounded by
several Masonic friends, who expressed their joy
at my release. I addressed the Colonel, saying,
that as he had put me to much inconvenience
and trouble, I claimed a favour of him. He
asked what it was. I begged him not to punish
"Joe" for what he had done, and to allow me to
present him with a gift as a mark of gratitude for
his fidelity to me. As these favours were asked
in the presence of the crowd, he could not very
well refuse my request. He sulkily promised
that "Joe" should not be punished, and said
if I pleased I might make him a present. I then
handed "Joe" twenty dollars in gold, for which
the noble fellow looked a thousand thanks.
Of an Abolitionist. 39
I was thus enabled to evince my gratitude for
what he had done for me, and at the same time
present him with means to aid him in escaping
Two years after this occurrence, while dining
at the American Hotel, in Boston, I observed a
coloured waiter eyeing me very closely ; at last
he recognised me, and asked if I remembered
him. It was "Joe," my saviour, the former slave
of Col. " Legree." I grasped the noble fellow's
hand, and congratulated him, in the presence of
all in the room, upon his escape from bondage.
In the evening I invited him into the parlour, and
introduced him to several influential friends, to
whom, I narrated the incidents above related.
He afterwards gave me some of the particulars
of his escape from slavery, as follows :
On the Sunday evening following my arrest,
his brother joined him in a piece of woods not
far from Col. "Legree's" plantation, where he
had secreted sufficient food to last them several
TWO PASSENGERS BY THE UNDERGROUND R. R.
At midnight they started together, moving as
rapidly as they could through fields and woods,
4O Recollections and Experiences
keeping the north star in front of them. When-
ever it was possible they walked in the creeks
and marshy grounds, to throw the slave-hunters
off their tracks. Thus, night after night, they
kept on their weary way, hungry and sorefooted.
On the morning of the seventeenth day of their
freedom, they reached the Ohio river, nearly
opposite a large town. All day they lay secreted
in the bushes, at night they found a small boat,
with which they crossed the river, and travelled
rapidly, taking a north-east course. They finally,
after enduring many hardships, reached Cleve-
land, Ohio, and went to the house of a friend
whose name I had given "Joe." They were
kindly received, and supplied with clothing and
other comforts. After a week's rest they were
sent to Canada, where his brother still lives.
Before leaving Boston, I secured "Joe" a good
situation in a mercantile house, where he re-
mained for many years, rendering faithful service
to his grateful employers.
LEAVE COLUMBUS FOR OTHER FIELDS.
On the day following my release from peril,
I took the stage for luka, a station on the
Charleston and Memphis Railroad. There I
purchased a through ticket for New York, which
I took pains to exhibit to the landlord of the
Of an Abolitionist. 41
hotel, so that in case I was pursued, (as I cer-
tainly would be, if "Joe" and his brother
succeeded in escaping), he could state the fact
of my having bought tickets for New York,
which would probably check their pursuit.
From luka I went to Huntsville, Ala., where
I remained four weeks actively engaged in circu-
lating information among the slaves. My next
point was Augusta, Georgia.
AT WORK IN AUGUSTA.
Finding that Augusta was favourably situated
for my work, and that the slaves in that section
were sharp and intelligent, I determined to make
it my next field of labour. Having secured
a good home with a Quaker family, I was soon
actively engaged in collecting birds and insects,
and in becoming acquainted with the more intel-
ligent coloured people of that section. I deem
it my duty to place upon record the fact, that
among all the religious denominations in the
South, none were more faithful to the principles
of freedom, or to the dictates of humanity in
respect to slavery, than the sect called Quakers.
Wherever I have met the members of that society,
whether in the North or South, they have always
proved themselves friends in deed as well as
42 Recollections and Experiences
name. They could always be implicitly trusted
by the poor fugitives flying from bondage. I
know of many instances where, at great sacrifice
and risk, they have shielded the outcasts from
their pursuers the slave-hunters and United
States marshals. Hundreds of the negroes of
Canada will bear testimony to the unfailing
fidelity of the peaceful and worthy Quakers of
Ohio and Michigan.
ELEVEN FOLLOWERS OF THE NORTH STAR.
I laboured in Augusta for two months, and
finally succeeded in equipping a party of eleven
fine, active, intelligent slaves, for the long, dan-
gerous, and weary journey to the north. No
one not actually engaged in similar work, can
clearly appreciate the extreme delicacy of my
position. There was not a day, in fact scarcely
an hour, that I did not live in expectation of
exposure. The system of keen and constant
espionage, in practice all over the Slave States,
rendered it exceedingly necessary to exercise
the greatest prudence in approaching the slaves.
If a stranger was seen in conversation with a
slave, he became at once an object of suspicion.
I found, by experience, that a frank, open, and
apparently indifferent course, proved the wisest.
My ostensible scientific pursuits also opened a
Of an Abolitionist. 43
way for me to come in contact with the very
classes of both whites and blacks best suited for
I was greatly aided in my work in Augusta,
by a remarkably intelligent negro, who was
coachman to a prominent citizen of that town.
This man was chosen leader of the band of
fugitives from Augusta, and proved the saviour
of the whole party ; for they all arrived safely
in Canada in less than two months from the time
of their escape from bondage. Two members of
this party are now living in Canada, and in good
On the day following the exodus of these
brave fellows, I quietly left the scene of my
labours, and went to Charleston, S. C.
On the third day after my arrival there, one of
the Charleston papers contained a despatch from
Augusta, which stated that several first-class
negro men had disappeared from that place
within a week ; and that a very general impres-
sion prevailed there that abolitionists were at
work inciting the negroes to escape from their
masters. I left Charleston that evening, and
44 Recollections and Experiences
went to Raleigh, N. C. While at breakfast next
morning, two men seated themselves near me,
and entered into a conversation relative to the
escape of slaves from Augusta. One of them
remarked, that an Englishman who had been
stopping in Augusta for several weeks was
suspected, and that it was supposed he had gone
with the fugitives, as he had not been seen since
the slaves were missed. He said, if the aboli-
tionist was caught, no mercy would be shown
him, as it was time an example was made of the
negro thieves that infested the South.
FAST TRAVELLING TO THE NORTH.
Having finished my breakfast, I went to the
office of the hotel, settled my bill, and to avoid
suspicion enquired for the residence of a promi-
nent pro-slavery man, a member of Congress.
Having obtained the information, I bid the
landlord good day, and left Raleigh by the first
train, taking no rest until I reached Washington
nearly six months from the time I landed in
During my stay in Washington, I became
acquainted with Mr. Sumner, at whose house I
Of an Abolitionist. 45
had the pleasure of meeting many distinguished
people, who evinced a warm and kindly interest
in my labours. The slaveholders, at that period,
held the balance of power in the United States,
and the Democratic party was used by them to
strengthen the bonds that bound the coloured
people of the South in the chains of slavery.
The slave-masters were not satisfied with the
recognized boundaries of their institution, and
sought by every device to obtain some portion
of the new territories of the south-west, in which
they could carry their vile institution. Northern
men of the Douglas and Seymour stamp were
willing to yield to the slave lords, and even
sacrifice the dearest interests of their country,
providing they could advance their individual
claims to the Presidency. The haughty and out-
rageous demands of Davis, Mason, and Toombs,
were abetted by the cowardly democratic politi-
cians of the North.
Towering above these contemptible political
demagogues stood Charles Sumner, the brave
champion of freedom. No prospect of political
advancement could tempt him from the path
of duty, Nor could the brutal threats and
blows of his cowardly opponents, cause him to
halt in his warfare for the rights of man.
46 Recollections and Experiences
Toward the end of April, 1858, I left Wash-
ington for Philadelphia, and laid before my
anti-slavery friends a report of my work. One
venerable and talented Quaker lady, at whose
house our re-union took place, and whose name
had long keen identified with the cause of human
freedom, tendered me the hearty congratulations
of the organization on my safe return from the
land of darkness and despair.
TWO FUGITIVES FROM HUNTSVILLE.
While in Philadelphia a telegram was received
from a friend in Evansville, Indiana, informing
us that two fugitives had arrived there in a
dilapidated condition, their emaciated bodies
bearing the marks of many a bruise. I at
once went to Evansville to render them such
aid as I could. They were delighted to meet
me again, and recalled an interview they
had with me at Huntsville, Alabama. The
poor fellows were kindly cared for, and after
a few days' rest continued their journey to
Canada, prepared to defend their right to
own themselves against whoever might dis-
pute it. The route travelled by these fugitives
from Huntsville to the Ohio river was marked
with their blood. Their escape was soon dis-
covered, and persistent efforts made to capture
Of an Abolitionist. 47
them. They were followed for two days by a
a blood-hound that was placed on their tracks,
and which they succeeded in evading, by wading
in the creeks and marshes ; but for forty-eight
hours the deep baying of the hound was fre-
quently heard. They travelled by night only,
taking the north star as their guide, and by day
they rested in secluded places. Their sufferings
from hunger were very severe, which they were
often obliged to relieve by eating frogs and
other reptiles. Occasionally they succeeded in
obtaining poultry from the hen-houses of the
farmers on their route.
From Evansville I returned to Philadelphia,
and after a short stay in that city left for Boston,
MEET WITH AN OLD FRIEN
IT Springfield, Mass., the trail
sufficiently long to enable the passen-
gers to get supper. As I took my seat
at the table I observed an elderly gentleman
looking very earnestly at me. I felt sure I had
seen him before somewhere ; but where and when
I had quite forgotten. At length he recognized
me, and taking a seat near me said, in a whisper,
" How is the hardware business ?" The moment
he spoke I remembered the voice, and recalled
my old Cleveland acquaintance, Capt. John
Brown, of Kansas.
SECOND INTERVIEW WITH JOHN BROWN.
He was much changed in appearance, looking
older and more careworn ; his face was covered
with a long beard, nearly white ; his dress was
plain, but good and scrupulously clean. There
Of an Abolitionist. 49
was no change in his voice or eye, both were
indicative of strength, honesty, and tenacity of
purpose. Learning that I was on my way to
Boston, whither he was going on the following
day, he urged me to remain in Springfield over
night, and accompany him to Boston. After
supper we retired to a private parlour, and he
requested me to tell him all about my trip
through Mississippi and Alabama. He remarked
that our mutual friend, of Northern New York,
had told him that when he last heard from
'me, I was in Selma. He listened to the recital
of my narrative, from the time I left New
Orleans until my arrest at Columbus, with intense
earnestness, without speaking, until I described
my arrest and imprisonment, then his counte-
nance changed, his eyes flashed, he paced the
room in fiery wrath. I never witnessed a more
intense manifestation of indignation, and scorn.
Coming up to me, he took my wrists in his
hands and said, " God alone brought you out
of that hell ; and these wrists have been ironed,
and you have been cast in prison for doing your
duty. I vow, henceforth, that I will not rest in
my labour until I have discharged my whole
duty toward God, and toward my brother in
bondage." When he ceased speaking he sat
down and buried his face in his hands, in which
position he sat for several minutes, as if overcome
50 Recollections and Experiences
by his feelings. At length, arousing himself, he
asked me to continue my narrative, to which he
listened earnestly during its recital. He said,
" The Lord has permitted you to do a work that
falls to the lot of but few"; taking a small Bible or
Testament from his pocket, he said, " The good
book says, 'Whatsoever ye would that men
should do to you, do ye even so to them';
it teaches us further, to 'remember them in
bonds, as bound with them.'" He continued,
" I have devoted the last twenty years of my life
to preparation for the work which, I believe,
God has given me to do." He then gave
me some details of a campaign which he
was then actually preparing for, and which he
said had occupied his mind for years. He
intended to establish himself in the mountains
of Virginia with a small body of picked men
men in whom he could trust, and who feared
God. He felt confident that the negroes
would flock to him in large numbers, and that
the slaveholders would soon be glad to let the
oppressed go free; that the dread of a negro
insurrection would produce fear and trembling
in all the Slave States ; that the presence in the
mountains of an armed body of Liberators would
produce a general insurrection among the slaves,
which would end in their freedom. He said he
had about twenty-two Kansas men undergoing a
Of an Abolitionist. 51
course of military instruction ; these men would
form a nucleous, around which he would soon
gather a force sufficiently large and effective to
strike terror throughout the Slave States. His
present difficulty was, a deficiency of ready
money ; he had been promised support to help
the cause of freedom which was not forth-
coming, now that he was preparing to carry
the war into the South: His friends were disin-
clined to aid offensive operations.
During this interview, he informed me that he
intended to call a Convention of the friends of
the cause at Chatham, Canada, in a few weeks,
for the purpose of effecting an organization
composed of men who were willing to aid him
in his purpose of invading the Slave States.
He said he had rifles and ammunition sufficient
to equip two hundred men ; that he had made a
contract for a large number of pikes, with which
he intended to arm the negroes ; that the
object of his present trip to the East was, to
raise funds to keep this contract, and perfect his
arrangements for an attack upon the Slave
States in the following September or October.
Captain Brown accompanied me, on the fol-
lowing day, to Boston. During our journey,
he informed me that he required a thousand
52 Recollections and Experiences
dollars at least to complete his preparations ;
that he needed money at once to enable
him to keep a contract for arms with some
manufacturer in Connecticut. He also needed
money to bring his men from Iowa to
Canada. On our arrival in Boston, I went to
the house of a friend, and Capt. Brown took
quarters at a hotel. I saw him every day while
he remained in Boston ; and regretted to learn
that he met with but little success in obtaining
money. It appeared that those friends of the
cause of freedom, who had an inkling of his
project, were not disposed to advance money
for warlike purposes, except such as were for
the defence of free territory. He finally did
succeed in raising about five hundred dollars.
An impression prevailed, in the minds of many
sincere friends of freedom, that the persecu-
. tion of himself and family by the pro-slavery
men of Kansas had so exasperated him that
he would engage in some enterprize which
would result in the destruction of himself
and followers. I am persuaded that these
impressions were groundless. I never heard
him express any feeling of personal resent-
ment towards the slaveholders. He at all
times, while in my company, appeared to be
controlled by a fixed, earnest, and unalterable
determination to do what he considered to be
Of an Abolitionist. 53
his duty, as an agent in the hands of the Almighty,
to give freedom to the slaves. That idea, and
that alone, appeared to me to control his thoughts
On the morning of his departure from Boston,
I accompanied him to the depot, and bid him
farewell. (I never again saw the brave old cap-
tain in life.) A few days afterwards, however,
I received the following
LETTER FROM CAPT. BROWN.
May 5th, 1858.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
I have called a quiet Convention in
this place of true friends of freedom. Your
attendance is earnestly requested on the loth
inst. * * * *
(Fac-simile of Signature.)
In consequence of my absence from Boston, I
did not receive the above letter until the I3th of
May three days after the time appointed for
the meeting of the Convention.
54 Recollections and Experiences
REFUGEES IN CANADA.
During the summer of 1858 I visited Canada,
and had great pleasure in meeting several of
those who had, under my auspices, escaped from
the land of bondage. In a barber shop, in
Hamilton, I was welcomed by a man who had
escaped from Augusta, and who kept, as a
souvenir of my friendship, a dirk knife I had
given him on the night he started for Canada.
The meeting with so many of my former pupils,
and the fact that they were happy, thriving, and
industrious, gave me great satisfaction. The
trials and dangers I had endured in their behalf
were pleasing reminiscences to me, when sur-
rounded by the prosperous and happy people
whom I had striven to benefit.
The information I obtained from the Canadian
refugees, relative to their experiences while en
ro?tte to Canada, enabled me in after years to
render most valuable aid to other fugitives from
the land of bondage.
On the Qth of October, 1859, I was sur-
prised to receive the following letter from
Captain Brown, announcing his determination
to make an attack on the slave States in the
course of a few weeks. The letter reads as
Of an Abolitionist. 55
October 6th, 1859.
I shall move about the last of this month.
Can you help the cause in the way promised ?
Address your reply to Isaac Smith, Chambers-
burg, Penn. ******
Soon after the reception of the above letter I
left for Richmond, Virginia, much against the
wishes of my friends. I had promised Captain
Brown, during our interview at Springfield, Mass.,
that when he was ready to make his attack on
the Slave States, I would go to Richmond and
await the result. In case he should be suc-
cessful in his attack, I would be in a position to
watch the course of events, and enlighten the
slaves as to his purposes. It might also be pos-
sible for me to aid the cause in other respects.
On my arrival in Richmond, I went to the house
of an old friend, with whom I had stopped during
my previous raid on the chattels of Virginia's
56 Recollections and Experiences
CAPTAIN BROWN ATTACKS HARPER'S FERRY.
On the morning of Monday, the i/th of
October, wild rumours were in circulation about
the streets of Richmond that Harper's Ferry had
been captured by a band of robbers ; and, again,
that an army of abolitionists, under the command
of a desperado by the name of Smith, was mur-
dering the inhabitants of that village, and carry-
ing off the negroes. Throughout the day, groups
of excited men gathered about the newspaper
offices to hear the news from Harper's Ferry.
On the following morning (Tuesday) an official
report was received, which stated the fact that a
small force of abolitionists, under old Ossawatomie
Brown, had taken possession of the U. S. build-
ing at the Ferry, and had entrenched themselves.
I met an aged negro in the street, who seemed
completely bewildered about the excitement and
military preparations going on around him. As
I approached him, he lifted his hat and said:
" Please massa, what's the matter ? What's the
soldiers called out for?" I told him a band
of abolitionists had seized Harper's Ferry, and
liberated many of the slaves of that section ;
that they intended to free all the slaves in the
South, if they could. "Can dey do it, massa?"
he asked, while his countenance brightened up.
Of an Abolitionist. 57
I replied by asking him, if he wished to be free ?
He said : " O yes, massa ; I'se prayed for dat
dese forty years. My two boys are way off in
Canada. Do you know whar dat is, massa ?" I
told him I was a Canadian, which seemed to
give him a great surprise. He said his two
boys had run away from their master, because
he threatened to take them to New Orleans for
That John Brown had struck a blow that
resounded throughout the Slave States was
evident, from the number of telegraph des-
patches from all the Slave States, offering aid
to crush the invasion.
DEFEAT OF CAPTAIN BROWN.
The people of Richmond were frantic with
rage at this daring interference with their
cherished institution, which gave them the right
to buy, beat, 'work, and sell their fellow men.
Crowds of rough, excited men, filled with whis-
key and wickedness, stood for hours together in
front of the offices of the Despatch and Enquirer,
listening to the reports as they were announced
from within. When the news of Brown's defeat
and capture, and the destruction of his little
army, was read from the window of the Despatch
58 Recollections and Experiences
office, the vast crowds set up a demoniac yell of
delight, which to me sounded like a death knell
to all my hopes for the freedom of the enslaved.
As the excitement was hourly increasing, and
threats made to search the city for abolitionists,
I saw that nothing could be gained by remaining
in Richmond. I left for Washington, nearly
crushed in spirit at the destruction of Captain
Brown and his noble little band. On the train
were Southerners from many of the Slave States,
who expressed their views of Northern aboli-
tionists in the most emphatic slave-driving
language. The excitement was intense, every
stranger, especialty if he looked like a North-
erner, was closely watched, and in some instances
subjected to inquisition.
The attitude of many of the leading Northern
politicians and so-called statesmen, in Washing-
ton, was actually disgusting. These weak-kneed
and craven creatures were profuse in their apol-
ogies for Brown's assault, and hastened to divest
themselves of what little manhood they pos-
sessed, when in the presence of the braggarts
and women-whippers of the South. "What
can we do to conciliate the Slave States?"
was the leading question of the day. Such men
Of an Abolitionist. 09
as Crittenden, and Douglas, were ready to com-
promise with the slaveholders even at the sac-
rifice of their avowed principles. While Toombs,
Davis, Mason, Slidell, and the rest of the slave-
driving crew, haughtily demanded further gua-
rantees for the protection of their " institution ;"
and had it not been for the stand taken by
the people of the Northern States at that time,
their political leaders would have bound the
North, hand and foot, to do the bidding of the
slaveholders. But on that occasion, as well as
all others where the principles of freedom have
been involved, the people of the United States
were found worthy descendants of their revolu-
EFFECTS OF JOHN BROWN'S ATTACK.
The blow struck at Harper's Ferry, which the
Democratic leaders affected to ridicule, had
startled the slaveholders from their dreams of
security, and sent fear and trembling into every
home in the Slave States. On every plantation
the echoes from Harper's Ferry were heard. The
poor terrified slave, as he laid down at night,
weary from his enforced labours, offered up a
prayer to God for the safety of the grand old
captain, who was a prisoner in the hands of mer-
ciless enemies, who were thirsting for his blood.
60 Recollections and Experiences
BRAVERY OF CAPTAIN BROWN.
How bravely John Brown bore himself while
in the presence of the human wolves that sur-
rounded him, as he lay mangled and torn in
front of the engine-house at Harper's Ferry !
Mason, of Virginia, and that Northern renegade,
Vallandigham, interrogated the apparently dying
man, trying artfully, but in vain, to get him to
implicate leading Northern men. In the history
of modern times there is not recorded another
instance of such rare heroic valour as John
Brown displayed in the presence of Governor
Wise, of Virginia. How contemptible are Mason,
Wise, and Vallandigham, when compared with
the wounded old soldier, as he lay weltering in
his blood, and near him his two sons, Oliver
and Watson, cold in death. Mason and Vallan-
digham died with the stain of treason on their
heads, while Governor Wise, who signed Brown's
death warrant, still lives, despised and abhorred.
To superficial observers, Brown's attack on
Virginia with so small a force, looked like the
act .of a madman; but those who knew John
Brown, and the men under his command, are
satisfied that if he had carried out his original
plans, and retreated with his force to the moun-
tains, after he had captured the arms in the arsenal,
Of an Abolitionist. 61
he could have defeated and baffled any force
sent against him. The slaves would have flocked
to his standard in thousands, and the slaveholders
would have trembled with fear for the safety of
JOHN BROWN VICTORIOUS.
John Brown in prison, surrounded by his cap-
tors, won greater victories than if he had con-
quered the South by force of arms. His courage,
truthfulness, humanity, and self-sacrificing devo-
tion to the cause of the poor downtrodden slaves,
shamed the cowardly, weak-kneed, and truculent
Northern politicians into opposition to the
haughty demands of the despots of the South.
"HIS SOUL IS MARCHING ON."
Virginia, in her pride and strength, judicially
murdered John Brown. But the day is not far
distant when the freedmen and freemen of
the South will erect a monument on the spot
where his gallows once stood, to perpetuate to
all coming generations the noble self-sacrifice of
that brave Christian martyr. And when the
Southern statesmen who shouted for his execu-
tion are mouldering in the silent dust, forgotten
or unpleasantly remembered, the memory of
John Brown will grow brighter and brighter
through all coming ages.
62 Recollections and Experiences
JOHN BROWN'S MARTYRDOM.
December the 2nd, was the day appointed for
the execution of Capt. Brown. I determined to
make an effort to see him once more if possible.
Taking the cars at Baltimore, on Nov. 26th, I
went to Harper's Ferry and applied to the mili-
tary officer in command for permission to go to
Charleston. He enquired what object I had in
view in wishing to go there at that time, while
so much excitement existed. I replied, that I
had a desire to see John Brown once more
before his death. Without replying to me, he
called an officer in the room and directed him
to place me in close confinement until the train
for Baltimore came, and then to place me on
board, and command the conductor to take me
to Baltimore. Then, raising his voice, he said,
"Captain, if he (myself) returns to Harper's
Ferry, shoot him at once." I was placed
under guard until the train came in, when, in
despite of my protests, I was taken to Baltimore.
Determined to make one more attempt, I went
to Richmond to try and obtain a pass from the
Governor. After much difficulty I obtained an
INTERVIEW WITH GOVERNOR WISE.
I told the Governor that I had a strong desire
to see John Brown before his execution ; that I
Of an Abolitionist. 63
had some acquaintance with him, and had formed
a very high estimate of him as a man. I asked
him to allow me to go to Charlestown (under sur-
veillance if he pleased), and bid the old Captain
" Good bye." The Governor made many inqui-
ries as to my relation to Brown, and whether
I justified his attack on Virginia. I replied
candidly, stating that I had from childhood been
an ardent admirer of Washington, Jefferson, and
Madison, and that all these great and good men
deplored the existence of slavery in the Republic.
That my admiration and friendship for John
Brown was owing to his holding similar views,
and his earnest desire to abolish the evil. The
Governor looked at me with amazement, and for a
moment made no reply. At length he straight-
ened himself up, and, assuming a dignified look,
said, " My family motto is, ' sapere ande? I am
wise enough to understand your object in wishing
to go to Charlestown, and I dare you to go. If you
attempt it, I will have you shot. It is just such
men as you who have urged Brown to make his
crazy attack on our constitutional rights and
privileges. You shall not leave Richmond until
after the execution of Brown. I wish I could
hang a dozen of your leading abolitionists."
64 Recollections and Experiences
HE WOULD LIKE TO BAG GIDDINGS AND
" If I could bag old Giddings and Gerrit Smith,
I would hang them without trial." The Gov-
ernor was now greatly excited, and, rising from
his chair, he said, " No, sir ! you shall not leave
Richmond. You shall go to prison, and remain
there until next Monday ; then you may go
North, and slander the State which ought to
have hanged you." I quietly waited a moment
before replying, and then remarked, that as he
refused me permission to see Capt. Brown, I
would leave Virginia at once, and thus save both
him and the State any trouble or expense on
my account. I said this very quietly, while his
keen eyes were riveted on me. In reply, he
said, " Did I not tell you that you should remain
a prisoner here until Monday ?" I quietly said,
" Yes, Governor, you certainly did ; but I am
sure the executive of this great State is too" wise
to fear one unarmed man." For a few moments
he tapped the table with his fingers, without
saying anything. Then he came toward me,
shaking his fore finger, and said : " Well, you
may go ; and I would advise you to tell your
Giddings, Greeleys, and Garrisons, cowards that
they are, to lead the next raid on Virginia
Of an Abolitionist. 6$
Fearing that obstacles might be thrown in my
way which would cause detention and trouble,
I requested the Governor to give me a permit
to leave the State of Virginia. Without making
any reply, he picked up a blank card, and wrote
as follows :
" The bearer, is hereby ordered to leave the
State of Virginia within twenty-four hours."
(Fac-simile of Signature.)
This he handed me, saying, " The sooner you
go, the better for you : our people are greatly
excited, and you may regret this visit, if you
stay another hour."
I returned to Philadelphia as rapidly as pos-
sible, where I remained until the remains of
Capt. Brown arrived, en route for their final
resting place at North Elba, in Northern New
York. Having taken my last look at the dead
liberator, I returned to Canada, where I remained
until my preparations were completed for another
visit to the South.
66 Recollections and Experiences
EXTRACTS FROM THE PRESS OF
The following Extracts from the Press of that
period, will furnish my readers with a good index
of the popular feeling respecting John Brown's
raid, and his defeat, imprisonment, trial, and
From Harper's Weekly, October 29, 1859.
EXTRAORDINARY INSURRECTION AT HARPER'S
One of the most extraordinary events that
ever occurred in our history took place last
week at Harper's Ferry. We shall endeavour
to give our readers a connected history of the
affair, which, at the present time, has been
brought to a close.
THE FIRST ACTIVE MOVEMENT.
The first active movement in the insurrection
was made at about half-past ten o'clock on
Sunday night. William Williamson, the watch-
man at Harper's Ferry bridge, while walking
across toward the Maryland side, was seized
by a number of men, who said he was their
Of an Abolitionist. 67
prisoner, and must come with them. He recog-
nized Brown and Cook among the men, and
knowing them, treated the matter as a joke,
but enforcing silence, they conducted him to the
Armory, which he found already in their posses-
sion. He was detained till after daylight, and
then discharged. The watchman who was to
relieve Williamson at midnight found the bridge
lights all out, and was immediately seized.
Supposing it an attempt at robbery, he broke
away, and his pursuers stumbling over him, he
ARREST OF COLONEL WASHINGTON AND
The next appearance of the insurrectionists
was at the house of Colonel Lewis Washington,
a large farmer and slave-owner, living about
four miles from the ferry. A party, headed
by Cook, proceeded there, and rousing Colonel
Washington, told him he was their prisoner.
They also seized all the slaves near the house,
took a carriage horse, and a large waggon with
two horses. When Colonel Washington saw
Cook, he immediately recognized him as the
man who had called upon him some months
previous, to whom he had exhibited some valu-
able arms in his possession, including an antique
sword presented by Frederick the Great to
68 Recollections and Experiences
George Washington, and a pair of pistols pre-
sented by Lafayette to Washington, both being
heir-looms in the family. Before leaving, Cook
wanted Colonel Washington to engage in a trial
of skill at shooting, and exhibited considerable
skill as a marksman. When he made the visit
on Sunday night he alluded to his previous
visit, and the courtesy with which he had been
treated, and regretted the necessity which made
it his duty to arrest Colonel Washington. He,
however, took advantage of the knowledge he
had obtained by his former visit to carry off
all the valuable collection of arms, which the
Colonel did not re-obtain till after the final
defeat of the insurrection.
From Colonel Washington's he proceeded with
him as a prisoner in the carriage, and twelve of
his negroes in the waggon, to the house of Mr.
Alstadt, another large farmer, on the same road.
Mr. Alstadt and his son, a lad of sixteen, were
taken prisoners, and all their negroes within
reach forced to join the movement. He then
returned to the Armory at the Ferry.
THE STOPPAGE OF THE RAILROAD TRAIN.
At the upper end of the town the mail train
arrived at the usual hour, when a coloured man,
Of an Abolitionist. 69
who acted as assistant to the baggage-master,
was shot, receiving a mortal wound, and the
conductor, Mr. Phelps, was threatened with
violence if he attempted to proceed with the
train. Feeling uncertain as to the condition of
affairs, the conductor waited until after daylight
before he ventured to proceed, having delayed
the train six hours.
Luther Simpson, baggage-master of the mail-
train, gives the following particulars : I walked
up the bridge ; was stopped, but was afterward
permitted to go up and see the captain of the
insurrectionists ; I was taken to the Armory, and
saw the captain, whose name is Bill Smith ; I
was kept prisoner for more than an hour, and
saw from five to six hundred negroes, all having
arms ; there were two or three hundred white
men with them ; all the houses were closed.
I went into a tavern kept by Mr. Chambers ;
thirty of the inhabitants were collected there
with arms. They said most of the inhabitants
had left, but they declined, preferring to protect
themselves ; it was reported that five or six
persons had been shot.
Mr. Simpson was escorted back over the bridge
by six negroes.
7O Recollections and Experiences
THE STATE OF AFFAIRS AT DAYBREAK.
It was not until the town thoroughly waked
up, and found the bridge guarded by armed
men, and a guard stationed at all the avenues,
that the people saw that they were prisoners.
A panic appears to have immediately ensued,
and the number of insurrectionists was at once
largely increased. In the mean time a number
of workmen, not knowing anything of what had
occurred, entered the Armory, and were succes-
sively taken prisoners, until at one time they had
not less than sixty men confined in the Armory.
These were imprisoned in the engine-house,
which afterward became the chief fortress of the
insurgents, and were not released until after the
final assault. The workmen were imprisoned in
a large building further down the yard.
A coloured man, named Hayward, a railroad
porter, was shot early in the morning for refusing
to join in the movement.
The next man shot was Joseph Burley, a
citizen of Perry. He was shot standing in his
own door. The insurrectionists by this time,
finding a disposition to resist them, had with-
Of an Abolitionist. 71
drawn nearly all within the Armory grounds,
leaving only a guard on the bridge.
About this time, also, Samuel P. Young, Esq.,
was shot dead. He was coming into town on
horseback, carrying a gun, when he was shot
from the Armory, receiving a wound of which
he died during the day. He was a graduate of
West Point, and greatly respected in the neigh-
bourhood for his high character and noble
The lawn in front of the engine-house after the
assault presented a dreadful sight. Lying on it
were two bodies of men killed on the previous
day, and found inside the house ; three wounded
men, one of them just at the last gasp of life,
and two others groaning in pain. One of the
dead was Brown's son. Oliver, the wounded
man, and his son Watson, were lying on the
grass, the father presenting a gory spectacle. He
had a severe bayonet wound in his side, and his
face and hair were clotted with blood.
APPEARANCE OF THE PRISONERS.
When the insurgents were brought out, some
dead, others wounded, they were greeted with
execrations, and only the precautions that had
72 Recollections and Experiences
been taken saved them from immediate execu-
tion. The crowd, nearly every man of which
carried a gun, swayed with tumultuous excite-
ment, and cries of " Shoot them ! shoot them !"
rang from every side. The appearance of the
liberated prisoners, all of whom, through the
steadiness of the marines, escaped injury, changed
the current of feeling, and prolonged cheers took
the place of howls and execrations.
A short time after Captain Brown was brought
out, he revived and talked earnestly to those
about him, defending his course, and avowing
that he had done only what was right. He re-
plied to questions substantially as follows : "Are
you Captain Brown, of Kansas ?" " I am some-
times called so." "Are you Ossawatamie Brown?"
"I tried to do my duty there." "What was
your present object ?" " To free the slaves from
bondage." " Were any other persons but those
with you now connected with the movement ?"
"No." "Did you expect aid from the North?"
" No ; there was no one connected with the
movement but those who came with me." " Did
you expect to kill people to carry your point ?"
" I did not wish to do so, but you force us to
it." Various questions of this kind were put to
Of an Abolitionist, 73
Captain Brown, which he answered clearly and
freely, with seeming anxiety to vindicate himself.
He urged that he had the town at his mercy :
that he could have burned it, and murdered the
inhabitants, but did not ; he had treated the
prisoners with courtesy, and complained that he
was hunted down like a beast. He spoke of the
killing of his son, which he alleged was done
while bearing a flag of truce, and seemed very
anxious for the safety of his wounded son. His
conversation bore the impression of the convic-
tion that whatever he had done to free the slaves
was right ; and that, in the warfare in which he
was engaged, he was entitled to be treated with
all the respect of a prisoner of war.
CAPTURE OF ARMS.
During Tuesday morning, one of Washington's
negroes came in and reported that Captain
Cook was on the mountain, only three miles off ;
about the same time some shots were said to
have been fired from the Maryland hills, and a
rapid fusilade was returned from Harper's Ferry.
The Independent Grays of Baltimore imme-
diately started on a scouting expedition, and in
two hours returned with two waggons loaded
with arms and ammunition, found at Captain
74 Recollections and Experiences
The arms consisted of boxes filled with Sharp's
rifles, pistols, &c., all bearing the stamp of the
Massachusetts Manufacturing Company, Chico-
pee, Mass. There were also found a quantity of
United States ammunition, a large number of
spears, sharp iron bowie-knives fixed upon poles,
a terrible looking weapon, intended for the use
of the negroes, with spades, pickaxes, shovels,
and everything else that might be needed : thus
proving that the expedition was well provided
for, that a large party of men were expected to
be armed, and that abundant means had been
provided to pay all expenses.
How all these supplies were got up to this farm
without attracting observation, is very strange.
They are supposed to have been brought through
Pennsylvania. The Grays pursued Cook so fast
that they secured a part of his arms, but with
his more perfect knowledge of localities, he was
enabled to evade them.
TREATMENT OF BROWN'S PRISONERS.
The citizens imprisoned by the insurrection-
ists all testify to their lenient treatment. They
were neither tied nor insulted, and, beyond the
outrage of restricting their liberty, were not ill-
used. Capt. Brown was always courteous to
Of an Abolitionist. 75
them, and at all times assured them that they
would not be injured. He explained his pur-
poses to them, and while he had them (the work-
men) in confinement, made no abolition speech
to them. Colonel Washington speaks of him as
a man of extraordinary nerve. He never
blanched during the assault, though he admitted
in the night that escape was impossible, and that
he would have to die. When the door was
broken down, one of his men exclaimed, " I sur-
render." The Captain immediately cried out,
" There's one surrenders ; give him quarter ;"
and at the same moment fired his own rifle at
During the previous night he spoke freely with
Colonel Washington, and referred to his sons.
He said he had lost one in Kansas and two here.
He had not pressed them to join him in the
expedition, but did not regret their loss they
had died in a glorious cause.
BROWN'S PAPERS AND STORES.
On the 1 8th a detachment of marines and
some volunteers made a visit to Brown's house.
They found a large quantity of blankets, boots,
shoes, clothes, tents, and fifteen hundred pikes,
with large blades affixed. They also discovered
76 Recollections and Experiences
a carpet-bag, containing documents throwing
much light on the affair, printed constitutions
and by-laws of an organization, showing or indi-
cating ramifications in various States of the
Union. They also found letters from various in-
dividuals at the North one from Fred. Douglass,
containing ten dollars from a lady for the cause ;
also a letter from Gerrit Smith about money
matters, and a check or draft by him for $100,
indorsed by the cashier of a New York bank,
name not recollected. All these are in posses-
sion of Governor Wise.
HIS WARNING TO THE SOUTH.
Reporter of the Herald. I do not wish to
annoy you ; but, if you have any thing further
you would like to say, I will report it.
Mr. Brown. I have nothing to say, only that
I claim to be here in carrying out a measure I
believe perfectly justifiable, and not to act the
part of an incendiary or ruffian, but to aid those
suffering great wrong. I wish to say, further-
more, that you had better all you people at
the South prepare yourselves for a settlement
of that question that must come up for settle-
ment sooner than you are prepared for it. The
sooner you are prepared the better. You may
Of an Abolitionist. Jj
dispose of me very easily. I am nearly disposed
of now ; but this question is still to be settled
this negro question, I mean ; the end of that is
not yet. These wounds were inflicted upon me
both sabre cuts on my head and bayonet stabs
on different parts of my body some minutes
after I had ceased fighting, and had consented to
a surrender, for the benefit of others, not for my
own. (This statement was vehemently denied
by all around.) I believe the Major (meaning
Lieutenant J. B. Stuart, of the United States
Cavalry) would not have been alive I could
have killed him just as easy as a mosquito when
he came in, but I supposed he came in only to
receive our surrender. There had been loud and
long calls of "surrender" from us as loud as
men could yell but in the confusion and excite-
ment I suppose we were not heard. I do not
think the Major, or any one, meant to butcher
us after we had surrendered.
Brown has had a conversation with Senator
Mason, which is reported in the Heerald. The
following is a verbatim report of the conversa-
Mr. Mason. Can you tell us, at least, who
furnished money for your expedition ?
78 Recollections and Experiences
Mr. Brown. I furnished most of it myself. I
can not implicate others. It is by my own folly
that I have been taken. I could easily have
saved myself from it had I exercised my own
better judgment, rather than yielded to my
Mr. Mason. You mean if you had escaped
Mr. Brown. No ; I had the means to make
myself secure without any escape, but I allowed
myself to be surrounded by a force by being
Mr. Mason. But you killed some people pass-
ing along the streets quietly.
Mr. Brown. Well, sir, if there was any thing
of that kind done it was without my knowledge.
Your own citizens, who were my prisoners, will
tell you that every possible means was taken to
prevent it. I did not allow my men to fire, nor
even to return a fire, when there was danger of
killing those we regarded as innocent persons, if
I could help it. They will tell you that we
allowed ourselves to be fired at repeatedly, and
did not return it.
Of an Abolitionist. 79
A By-stander. That is not so. You killed
an unarmed man at the corner of the house
over there (at the water tank), and another
Mr. Brown. See here, my friend, it is useless
to dispute or contradict the report of your own
neighbors who were my prisoners.
Mr. Mason. If you would tell us who sent
you here who provided the means that would
w& information of some value.
Mr. Brown. I will answer freely and faith-
fully about what concerns myself I will answer
any thing I can with honor, but not about
Mr. Mason. How many are engaged with
you in this movement ? I ask those questions
for our own safety.
Mr. Brown. Any questions that I can honor-
ably answer I will, not otherwise. So far as I
am myself concerned, I have told every thing
truthfully. I value my word, sir.
Mr, Mason. What was your object in coming?
So Recollections and Experiences
Mr. Brown. We came to free the slaves, and
A Young Man (in the uniform of a volunteer
company). How many men in all had you ?
Mr. Brown. I came to Virginia with eighteen
men only, besides myself.
Volunteer. What in the world did you sup-
pose you could do here in Virginia with that
amount of men ?
Mr. Brown. Young man, I don't wish to
discuss that question here.
Volunteer. You could not do any thing.
Mr. Brown. Well, perhaps your ideas and
mine on military subjects would differ materi-
Mr. Mason. How do you justify your acts ?
Mr. Brown. I think, my friend, you are guilty
of a great wrong against God and humanity I
say it without wishing to be offensive and it
would be perfectly right for any one to interfere
with you so far as to free those you wilfully and
wickedly hold in bondage. I do not say this
Mr. Mason. I understand that.
Of an Abolitionist. 81
Mr. Brown. I think I did right, and that
others will do right who interfere with you at
any time and all times. I hold that the golden
rule, " Do unto others as you would that others
should do unto you," applies to all who would
help others to gain their liberty.
HOW HE WAS COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF.
Mr. Mason. Did you consider this a military
organization, in this paper (the Constitution) ?
I have not read it.
Mr. Brown. I did in some sense. I wish you
would give that paper close attention.
Mr. Mason. You considered yourself the
Commander- in- Chief of these " provisional "
military forces ?
Mr. Brown. I was chosen, agreeably to the
ordinance of a certain document, Commander-
in-Chief of that force.
Mr. Mason. What wages did you offer ?
Mr. Brown. None.
Lieutenant Stuart. "The wages of sin is
Mr. Brown. I would not have made such a
82 Recollections and Experiences
remark to you if you had been a prisoner and
wounded in my hands.
A By-stander. Did you not promise a negro
in Gettysburg twenty dollars a month ?
Mr. Brown. I did not.
By-stander. He says you did.
WHAT HE EXPECTED.
Mr. Vallandigham. Did you expect a general
rising of the slaves in case of your success ?
Mr. Brown. No, sir ; nor did I wish it. I
expected to gather them up from time to time
and set them free.
Mr. Vallandigham. Did you expect to hold
possession here till then ?
Mr. Brown. Well, probably I had quite a
different idea. I do not know that I ought to
reveal my plans. I am here a prisoner and
wounded, because I foolishly allowed myself to
be so. You overrate your strength in supposing
I could have been taken if I had not allowed
it. I was too tardy after commencing the open
attack in delaying my movements through
Monday night, and up to the time I was
Of an Abolitionist. 83
attacked by the Government troops. It was all
occasioned by my desire to spare the feelings
of my prisoners and their families and the com-
munity at large. I had no knowledge of the
shooting of the negro (Heywood).
Mr. Vallandigham. What time did you com-
mence your organization in Canada.
Mr. Brown. That occurred about two years
ago, if I remember right. It was, I think, in
Mr. Vallandigham. Who was the secretary ?
Mr. Brown. That I could not tell if I recol-
lected, but I do not recollect. I think the
officers were elected in May, 1858. I may
answer incorrectly, but not intentionally. My
head is a little confused by wounds, and my
memory obscure on dates, etc.
PERSONAL APPEARANCE OF THE INSURGENTS.
A writer in the Baltimore Exchange, gives the
following account of the personal appearance of
the insurgents :
Old Brown, the leader, is a small man, with
white head, and cold-looking grey eyes. When
not speaking his lips are compressed, and he has
the appearance of a most determined man. His
84 Recollections and Experiences
two sons (one dead) were strikingly alike in their
personal appearance. Each about five feet eleven
inches high, with spare visage, sallow complexion,
sunken eyes, and dark hair and beard. The
beard was sparse and long, and their hair long
and matted. The wounded man is of undoubted
courage, and from his cold sullen manner, one
would suppose did not ask for or desire sym-
pathy. Anderson, mortally wounded, is tall,
black-haired, and of dark complexion. His ap-
pearance is indicative of desperate resolution.
Although suffering the most intense agony from
the wound in the abdomen, he did not complain,
or ask for any favour, and the only evidence he
gave of suffering, was occasionally a slight groan.
He looks to be thirty years of age. Stevens,
who was wounded on Monday afternoon, and
taken prisoner, is physically a model man. He
is five feet eleven inches high, with fine brawny
shoulders and large sinewy limbs, all the muscles
finely developed and hard. He is of dark com-
plexion, and of undoubted resolution. When
taken prisoner, he did not ask or expect quarter,
and lay and suffered from his wounds without
complaint other than a groan.
COMMENCEMENT OF THE TRIAL.
A fresh attempt of Brown's to have the trial
postponed in order to obtain counsel from the
Of an Abolitionist. 85
North having failed, the case was proceeded
The jury having been sworn to fairly and im-
partially try the prisoner, the Court directed
that the prisoner might forego the form of stand-
ing while arraigned, if he desired it.
Mr. Botts put the enquiry to the prisoner, and
he continued to lie prostrate on his cot while the
long indictment, rilling seven pages, was read :
First For conspiring with negroes to produce
Second For treason to the Commonwealth ;
Third For murder.
THE SPEECHES AND THE EVIDENCE.
The case was then opened at length by Messrs.
Harding and Hunter for the Commonwealth, and
by Messrs. Botts and Green for the prisoner.
OLD BROWN ASKS FOR DELAY.
Mr. Brown then arose, and said : " I do not
intend to detain the Court, but barely wish to
say, as I have been promised a fair trial, that I
86 Recollections and Experiences
am not now in circumstances that enable me to
attend a trial, owing to the state of my health.
I have a severe wound in the back, or rather in
one kidney, which enfeebles me very much. But
I am doing well ; and I only ask for a very
short delay of my trial, and I think that I may
be able to listen to it ; and I merely ask this,
that as the saying is, 'the devil may have his
dues' no more. I wish to say further, that my
hearing is impaired and rendered indistinct in
consequence of wounds I have about my head.
I cannot hear distinctly at all ; I could not hear
what the Court has said this morning. I would
be glad to hear what is said on my trial, and am
now doing better than 1 could expect to be under
the circumstances. A very short delay would be
all I would ask. I do not presume to ask more
than a very short delay, so that I may in some
degree recover, and be able at least to listen to
my trial, and hear what questions are asked of
the citizens, and what their answers are. If that
could be allowed me, I should be very much
At the conclusion of Brown's remarks, the
Court assigned Charles J. Faulkner and Lawson
Botts as counsel for the prisoners.
Of an Abolitionist. 87
THE EXAMINATION BEFORE THE MAGISTRATE.
The examination before the magistrates then
proceeded. The evidence given was much the
same as that which we published last week. It
established the main facts charged against Brown,
but showed that he had treated the prisoners
humanely. At the close of the examination, the
case was given to the Grand Jury, who found a
true bill next day.
At twelve o'clock on the 26th, the Court reas-
sembled. The Grand Jury reported a true bill
against the prisoners, and were discharged.
Charles B. Harding, assisted by Andrew Hun-
ter, represented the Commonwealth ; and Charles
J. Faulkner and Lawson Botts are counsel for the
A true bill was read against each prisoner:
First For conspiring with negroes to produce
Second For treason to the Commonwealth ;
Third For murder.
88 Recollections and Experiences
The prisoners were brought into Court accom-
panied by a body of armed men. They passed
through the streets and entered the Court-house
without the slightest demonstration on the part
of the people.
Brown looked somewhat better, and his eye
was not so much swollen. Stevens had to be
supported, and reclined on a mattress on the floor
of the Court-room, evidently unable to sit. He
has the appearance of a dying man, breathing
with great difficulty.
Before the reading of the arraignment, Mr.
Hunter called the attention of the Court to the
necessity of appointing additional counsel for
the prisoners, stating that one of the counsel
(Faulkner) appointed by the County Court, con-
sidering his duty in that capacity as having
ended, had left. The prisoners, therefore, had
no other counsel than Mr. Botts. If the Court
was about to assign them other counsel, it might
be proper to do so now.
The Court stated that it would assign them
any member of the bar they might select.
After consulting Captain Brown, Mr. Botts
said that the prisoner retained him, and desired
Of an Abolitionist. 89
to have Mr. Green, his assistant, to assist him.
If the Court would accede to that arrangement
it would be very agreeable to him personally.
The Court requested Mr. Green to act as
counsel for the prisoner, and he consented to
Old Brown addressed the Court as follows :
Virginians. I did not ask for any quarter at
the time I was taken. I did not ask to have my
life spared. The Governor of the State of Vir-
ginia tendered me his assurance that I should
have a fair trial ; but under no circumstances
whatever will I be able to have a fair trial. If
you seek my blood, you can have it at any
moment, without this mockery of a trial. I
have had no counsel ; I have not been able to
advise with any one. I know nothing about the
feelings of my fellow prisoners, and am utterly
unable to attend in any way to my own defence.
My memory don't serve me ; my health is
insufficient, although improving. There are
mitigating circumstances that I would urge in
our favour if a fair trial is to be allowed us ;
but if we are to be farced with a mere form
a trial for execution you might spare your-
selves that trouble. I am ready for my fate.
90 Recollections and Experiences
I do not ask a trial. I beg for no mockery
of a trial no insult nothing but that which
conscience gives or cowardice would drive you
to practise. I ask again to be excused from the
mockery of a trial. I do not even know what
the special design of this examination is. I do
not know what is to be the benefit of it to the
Commonwealth. I have now little further to
ask, other than that I may not be foolishly
insulted, only as cowardly barbarians insult
those who fall into their power.
THE TRIAL OF JOHN BROWN.
On Monday, 3ist ult, Mr. Griswold summed
up for the defence, and Mr. Harding for the
Commonwealth of Virginia.
During most of the arguments Brown lay on
his back, with his eyes closed.
Mr. Chilton asked the Court to instruct the
jury, if they believe the prisoner was not a
citizen of Virginia, but of another State, they
cannot convict on a count of treason.
The Court declined, saying the Constitution
did not give rights and immunities alone, but
also imposed responsibilities.
Of an Abolitionist. 91
Mr. Chilton asked another instruction, to the
effect that the jury must be satisfied that the
place where the offence was committed was
within the boundaries of Jefferson County, which
the Court granted.
A recess was taken up for half an hour, when
the jury came in with a verdict.
There was intense excitement.
Brown sat up in bed while the verdict was
The jury found him guilty of treason, advising
and conspiring with slaves and others to rebel,
and for murder in the first degree.
Brown lay down quickly, and said nothing.
There was no demonstration of any kind.
MOTION IN ARREST OF JUDGMENT.
Mr. Chilton moved an arrest of judgment,,
both on account of errors in the indictment and
errors in the verdict. The prisoner had been
tried for an offence not appearing on the record
of the Grand Jury ; the verdict was not on each
count separately, but was a general verdict on
the whole indictment.
92 Recollections and Experiences
On the following day Mr. Griswold stated the
point on which an arrest of judgment was asked
for in Brown's case. He said it had not been
proved beyond a doubt that he (Brown) was
even a citizen of the United States, and argued
that treason could not be committed against a
State, but only against the General Government,
citing the authority of Judge Story ; also stating
the jury had not found the prisoner guilty of the
crimes as charged in the indictment they had
not responded to the offences, but found him
guilty of offences not charged. They find him
guilty of murder in the first degree, when the
indictment don't charge him with offences con-
stituting that crime.
Mr. Hunter replied, quoting the Virginia code
to the effect that technicalities should not arrest
the administration of justice. As to the juris-
diction over treason, it was sufficient to say that
Virginia had passed a law assuming that juris-
diction, and defining what constituted that
On the following day the Court gave its
decision as ruling the objections made. In the
objection that treason cannot be committed
against a State, he ruled that wherever alle-
giance is due, treason may be committed. Most
Of an Abolitionist. 93
of the States have passed laws against treason.
The objections as to the form of the verdict
rendered, the Court also regarded as insufficient.
The clerk then asked Mr. Brown whether he
had anything to say why sentence should not be
passed upon him.
Mr. Brown immediately rose, and, in a clear,
distinct voice, said : " I have, may it please the
Court, a few words to say. I deny every thing
but what I have all along admitted, of a design
on my part to free slaves. I intended, certainly,
to have made a clean thing of that matter, as I
did last winter, when I went into Missouri, and
there took slaves without the snapping of a gun
on either side, moving them through the country,
and finally leaving them in Canada. I designed
to have done the same thing again on a larger
scale. That was all I intended. I never did
intend murder or treason, or the destruction of
property, or to excite or incite slaves to rebellion,
or to make insurrection. I have another objec-
tion, and that is, that it is unjust that I should
suffer such a penalty. Had I interfered in the
manner in which I admit, and which I admit
had been fairly proved for I admire the truth-
fulness and candor of the greater portion of the
witnesses who have testified in this case had I
94 Recollections and Experiences
so interfered in behalf of the rich, the powerful,
the intelligent, the so-called great, or in behalf
of any of their friends, either father, mother,
brother, sister, wife, or children, or any of that
class, and suffered and sacrificed what I have in
this interference, it would have been all right ;
every man in this Court would have deemed it
an act worthy of reward rather than punishment.
AN APPEAL TO THE BIBLE.
" This Court acknowledges, too, as I suppose,
the validity of the law of God. I see a book
kissed, which I suppose to be the Bible, or at
least the New Testament, which teaches me that
all things whatsoever I would that men should
do to me, I should do even so to them. It teaches
me, further, to remember them that are in bonds
as bound with them. I endeavoured to act up
to that instruction. I say I am yet too young
to understand that God is any respecter of per-
sons. I believe that to have interfered as I have
done, as I have always freely admitted I have
done, in behalf of His despised poor, is no
wrong, but right. Now, if it is deemed neces-
sary that I should forfeit my life for the further-
ance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood
further with the blood of my children and with
the blood of millions in this slave country, whose
Of an Abolitionist. 95
rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and un-
just enactments, I say let be done, Let me say
one word further. I feel entirely satisfied with
the treatment I have received on my trial. Con-
sidering all the circumstances, it has been more
generous than I expected ; but I feel no con-
sciousness of guilt. I have stated from the first
what was my intention, and what was not. I
never had any design against the liberty of any
person, nor any disposition to commit treason or
incite slaves to rebel or make any general insur-
rection. I never encouraged any man to do so,
but always discouraged any idea of that kind.
Let me say, also, in regard to the statements
made by some of those who were connected with
me. I fear it has been stated by some of them
that I have induced them to join me, but the
contrary is true. I do not say this to injure them,
but regretting their weakness. Not one joined
me but of his own accord, and the greater part
at their own expense. A number of them I never
saw, and never had a word of conversation with,
till the day they came to me, and that was for
the purpose I have stated. Now, I have done.
HIS TONE AND MANNER.
Brown's speech was delivered in a calm, slow,
unfaltering voice, with no attempt at effect. A
correspondent of the Herald says :
96 Recollections and Experiences t
His composure, and his quiet and truthful
manner while bearing testimony to the great
indulgence that had been extended to him by
the Court, throughout the whole of the proceed-
ings, won the sympathy of every mind present.
When he concluded, he quietly sat down.
In a moment after, he was escorted back to
the prison, for the first time followed by the
sympathy of the people, who gazed upon him
with pitying eyes.
His counsel have put in a bill of exceptions,
which will be referred to the Court of Appeals
While Mr. Brown was speaking, perfect quiet
prevailed; and when he had finished the judge
proceeded to pronounce sentence upon him.
After a few preliminary remarks, he said that no
reasonable doubt could exist of the guilt of the
prisoner; and sentenced him to be hung in public
on Friday, the 2nd of December next.
Mr. Brown received his sentence with com-
The only demonstration made was the clap-
ping of the hands of one man in the crowd,
Of an Abolitionist. 97
who is not a resident of Jefferson County. This
was promptly suppressed, and much regret was
expressed by the citizens at its occurrence.
JOHN BROWN IN PRISON.
A lady, who visited Charlestown to assist Mrs.
Lydia Maria Child, obtained two interviews with
John Brown, the first of an hour, and the other
for a shorter period.
Mrs. , on entering, found Captain Brown
lying on a cot, and Stephens on a large bed,
Captain Brown arose from his bed to receive his
guests, and stood a. few moments leaning against
the bedstead, immediately lying down again from
weakness. His visitors were struck with the
cheerfulness of his expression, and the calmness
of his manner. He seemed not only passively
resigned to his fate, but cheerful under it, and
more than willing to meet it.
She said to him, " I expected Mrs. Child would
be here to introduce me ; I am sorry not to find
her, for her presence would make this room
brighter for you."
He smiled, and replied, " I have written to her
the reasons why she should not come ; but she
was very kind very kind !"
98 Recollections and Experiences
Some questions were then asked as to the
treatment and care he had received ; to which he
said, "I wish it to be understood by every body
that I have been very kindly attended ; for if I
had been under the care of father or brother, I
could not have been better treated than by
Captain Avis and his family."
HIS STATE OF MIND.
Mrs. had carried with her into the jail a
large bunch of autumn leaves, gathered in the
morning from the woods. There was no nail on
the wall to hang them by, and she arranged them
between the grated bars of the window. She
gave to the sufferer a full-blown rose, which he
laid beside his cheek on his pillow. The old man
seemed to be greatly touched with these tokens
of thoughtfulness. He is said to have always
been a great lover of nature, particularly of the
grandeur of forest scenes.
Mrs. drew a chair near his bedside, and
taking out her knitting, sat by him for an hour.
She has preserved his complete conversation, of
which I can give only a small portion. She says :
"I never saw a person who seemed less troubled
or excited, or whose mind was less disturbed
and more clear. His remarks are pointed, pithy,
and sensible. He is not in the least sentimental,
Of an Abolitionist. 99
and seems to have singularly excellent common
sense about every thing."
HIS PRINCIPLES ON SLAVERY.
She asked him the direct question, "Were
you actuated, in any degree, in undertaking your
late enterprise, by a feeling of revenge ?" adding
that a common impression to that effect had
He manifested much surprise at this state-
ment, and after pausing a moment, replied :
" I am not conscious of ever having had a
feeling of revenge ; no, not in all the wrong
done to me and my family in Kansas. But I
can see that a thing is wrong and wicked, and
can help to right it, and can even hope that
those who do the wrong may be punished, and
still have no feeling of revenge. No, I have not
been actuated by any spirit of revenge."
He talked a good deal about his family, mani-
festing solicitude for their comfort after he was
gone, but expressing his great confidence and
trust in God's kind providence in their behalf.
When some allusion was made to the sentence
which he had received, he said, very deliberately
and firmly, and as my friend says, almost sub-
IOO Recollections and Experiences
limely : " I do not think I can better serve the
cause I love so much than to die for it !"
She says that she can never forget the impres-
sive manner in which he utterred these solemn
words. She replied : " It is not the hardest thing
than can happen to a brave man to die ; but it
must be a great hardship for an active man to
lie on his back in prison, disabled by wounds.
Do you not dread your confinement, and are you
not afraid that it may wear you down, or cause
you to relax your convictions, or regret your
attempt, or make your courage fail ?"
" I can not tell," he replied, " what weakness
may come over me ; but I do not think that I
shall deny my Lord and Master Jesus Christ, as
I certainly should, if I denied my principles
When the conversation had proceeded thus
far, as it was known outside the jail that a
Northern lady was inside, a crowd began to
collect, and although no demonstration of vio-
lence was made, yet there were manifest indica-
tions of impatience ; so that the sheriff called to
the jailer, and the jailer was obliged to put an
end to the interview.
Of an Abolitionist. 101
BROWN'S INTERVIEW WITH HIS WIFE.
Mrs. Brown arrived at Charlestown, Dec. I,
to see her husband. The interview between
them lasted from four o'clock in the afternoon
until near eight o'clock in the evening, when
General Tallaferro informed them that the period
allowed had elapsed, and that she must prepare
for departure to the Ferry. Capt. Brown urged
that his wife be allowed to remain with him all
night. To this the General refused to assent,
allowing them but four hours.
The interview was not a very affecting one
rather of a practical character, with regard to
the future of herself and children, and the
arrangement and settlement of business affairs.
They seemed considerably affected when they
first met, and Mrs. Brown was for a few moments
quite overcome, but Brown was as firm as a rock,
and she soon recovered her composure. There
was an impression that the prisoner might pos-
sibly be furnished with a weapon or with strych-
nine by his wife, and before the interview her
person was searched by the wife of the jailer,
and a strict watch kept over them during the
time they were together.
On first meeting they kissed and affectionately
embraced, and Mrs. Brown shed a few tears, but
IO2 Recollections and Experiences
immediately checked her feelings. They stood
embraced, and she sobbing, for nearly five
minutes, and he was apparently unable to speak.
The prisoner only gave way for a moment, and
was soon calm and collected, and remained firm
throughout the interview. At the close they
shook hands, but did not embrace, and as they
parted he said, " God bless you and the children !"
Mrs. Brown replied, " God have mercy on you !"
and continued calm until she left the room,
when she remained in tears a few moments,
and then prepared to depart. The interview
took place in the parlour of Captain Avis, and
the prisoner was free from manacles of any
kind. They sat side by side on a sofa, and
after discussing family matters proceeded to
THE EXECUTION OF BROWN.
At eleven o'clock on 2nd December, the pris-
oner was brought out of the jail, accompanied by
Sheriff Campbell and assistants, and Captain
Avis, the jailer. As he came out, the six com-
panies of infantry and one troop of horse, with
General Tallaferro, and his entire staff, were
deploying in front of the jail, while an open
waggon with a pine box, in which was a fine
oak coffin, was waiting for him.
Of an Abolitionist. 103
Brown looked around, and spoke to several
persons he recognized, and, walking down the
steps, took a seat on the coffin box along with
the jailer, Avis. He looked with interest on the
fine military display, but made no remarks. The
waggon moved off, flanked by two files of rifle-
men in close order. On reaching the field the
military had already full possession. Pickets
were established, and the citizens kept back, at
the point of the bayonet, from taking any posi-
tion but that assigned them.
Brown was accompained by no ministers, he
desiring no religious services either in the jail or
on the scaffold.
JOHN BROWN OF OSAWATOMIE.
JOHN BROWN, of Osawatomie,
Spake on his dying day :
" I will not have, to shrive my soul,
A priest in Slavery's pay ;
But, let some poor slave-mother,
Whom I have striven to free,
With her children, from the gallows -stair,
Put up a prayer for me !"
John Brown, of Osawatomie,
They led him out to die,
When lo, a poor slave-mother,
With her little child, pressed nigh.
Then the bold, blue eye grew tender,
And the old, harsh face grew mild,
As he stooped between the jeering ranks
And kissed the negro's child ! Whittier.
IO4 Recollections and Experiences
On reaching the field where the gallows was
erected, the prisoner said, " Why, are none but
military allowed in the inclosure ? I am sorry
citizens have been kept out." On reaching the
gallows, he observed Mr. Hunter and Mayor
Green standing near, to whom he said, " Gentle-
men, good-by !" his voice not faltering.
ON THE GALLOWS.
The prisoner walked up the steps firmly, and
was the first man on the gallows. Avis and
Sheriff Campbell stood by his side, and after
shaking hands and bidding an affectionate adieu,
he thanked them for their kindness, when the
cap was put over his face, and the rope around
his neck. Avis asked him to step forward on
the trap. He replied, " You must lead me, I can
not see." The rope was adjusted, and the mili-
tary order given, " Not ready yet." The soldiers
marched, countermarched, and took position as
if any enemy were in sight, and were thus occu-
pied for nearly ten minutes, the prisoner standing
all the time. Avis inquired if he was not tired.
Brown said, " No, not tired ; but don't keep me
waiting longer than is necessary.
While on the scaffold Sheriff Campbell asked
him if he would take a handkerchief in his hand
Of an Abolitionist. 105
to drop as a signal when he was ready. He re-
plied, " No, I do not want it ; but do not detain
me any longer than is absolutely necessary."
He was swung off at fifteen minutes past eleven.
A slight grasping of the hands and twitching of
the muscles were seen, and then all was quiet.
The body was several times examined, and the
pulse did not cease until thirty-five minutes had
passed. The body was then cut down, placed in
a coffin, and conveyed under military escort to
the depot, where it was put in a car to be carried
to the ferry by a special train at four o'clock.
JOHN BROWN'S AUTOGRAPH.
One of the jail-guard, a worthy gentleman of
this place, asked of Captain Brown his autograph,
He expressed the kindest feeling for him, and
said he would give it upon this consideration
that he should not make a speculation out of it.
The gentleman never alluded to the subject
again, but on the morning of execution Brown
sent for him, and handed him the following com-
December, 2nd, 1859.
I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the
crimes of this guilty land will never be purged
io6 Recollections and Experiences
away but with blood. I had, as I now think,
vainly flattered myself that, without much blood-
shed, it might be done.
VICTOR HUGO ON JOHN BROWN.
The following is part of an address which has
been published :
When we reflect on what Brown, the liberator,
the champion of Christ, has striven to effect, and
when we remember that he is about to die,
slaughtered by the American Republic, the
crime assumes the proportions of the nation
which commits it ; and when we say to our-
selves that this nation is a glory of the human
race ; that like France, like England, like Ger-
many she is one of the organs of civilization ;
that she sometimes even outmarches Europe by
the sublime audacity of her progress ; that she
is the queen of an entire world ; and that she
bears on her brow an immense light of freedom,
we affirm that John Brown will not die, for we
recoil, horror-struck, from the idea of so great a
crime committed by so great a people.
In a political light, the murder of Brown
would be an irreparable fault. It would pene-
trate the Union with a secret fissure, which
would in the end tear it asunder. It is possible
that the execution of Brown might consolidate
Of an Abolitionist. 107
slavery in Virginia, but it is certain that it would
convulse the entire American democracy. You
preserve your shame, but you sacrifice your glory.
In a moral light, it seems to me that a portion
of the light of humanity would be eclipsed that
even the idea of justice and injustice would be
obscured on the day which should witness the
assassination of emancipation by liberty.
As for myself, though I am but an atom, yet
being, as I am, in common with all other men,
inspired with the conscience of humanity, I
kneel in tears before the great starry banner of
the New World, and with clasped hands, and
with profound and filial respect, I implore the
illustrious American republic, sister of the French
republic, to look to the safety of the universal
moral law, to save Brown, to throw down the
threatening scaffold of the i6th of December,
and not to suffer, beneath its eyes, and I add,
with a shudder, almost by its fault, the first
fratricide be outdone.
For yes, let America know it, and ponder it
well there is something more terrible than
Cain slaying Abel it is Washington slaying
Hauteville House, Dec. 2, 1859.
io8 Recollections and Experiences
JOHN BROWN SONG.
John Brown died on a scaffold for the slave ;
Dark was the hour when we dug his hallowed grave ;
Now God avenges the life he gladly gave,
Freedom reigns to-day !
Glory, glory, hallelujah,
Glory, glory, hallelujah,
Glory, glory, hallelujah,
Freedom reigns to-day !
John Brown sowed, and his harvesters are we ;
Honour to him who has made the bondmen free !
Loved ever more shall our noble ruler be ;
Freedom reigns to-day !
Glory, glory, hallelujah,
John Brown's body lies mouldering in the grave ;
Bright, o'er the sod, let the starry banner wave ;
Lo ! for the millions he perilled all to save,
Freedom reigns to-day !
John Brown's soul through the world is marching on ;
Hail to the hour when oppression shall be gone !
All men will sing, in the better ages' dawn,
Freedom reigns to-day.
John Brown dwells where the battle- strife is o'er ;
Hate cannot harm him, nor sorrow stir him more ;
Earth will remember the martyrdom he bore ;
Freedom reigns to-day !
Of an Abolitionist.
John Brown's body lies mouldering in the grave ;
John Brown lives in the triumphs of the brave ;
John Brown's soul not a higher joy can crave ;
Freedom reigns to-day !
Glory, glory, hallelujah !
Glory, glory, hallelujah !
Glory, glory, hallelujah !
Freedom reigns to-day !
Edna A. Proctor.
AT WORK IN KENTUCKY.
FEW months after the death of John
Brown, I felt impelled to go again into
the land of darkness and slavery, and
make another effort to help the oppressed to
freedom. This time I decided to make Ken-
tucky my field of labour. I consequently went
to Louisville, where I remained for a few days
looking about for a suitable locality for my
work. I finally decided, to go down to Har-
rodsburg, in the character of one in search of a
farm. Securing a few letters from land agents
in Louisville, introducing me as Mr. Hawkins,
of Canada, I reached Harrodsburg in due time.
After a little enquiry, I learned that a Mr.
B , five miles from that place, had a very
desirable farm for sale. Securing a conveyance,
I was driven out to Mr. B 's, who received
me in a friendly manner, when he learned
that I was in search of a farm, and invited me
Of an A bolitionist. 1 1 1
to remain with him while I was in the neighbour-
hood. I accepted his invitation, and sent the
conveyance back to Harrodsburg. Mr. B 's
family consisted of himself, wife, and three
small children. He was the owner of the
farm on which he lived, consisting of three
hundred acres. He also owned eleven slave
men and women, and several slave children.
He informed me that he had concluded to sell
his farm and stock, except the human chattels,
and remove to Texas* During our frequent
conversations upon the subject of land, stock,
climate, soil, etc., I seized every opportunity,
especially if any of the slaves were near, to
allude to Canada in favourable terms. I did
not fail to observe <he quiet but deep interest
evinced by the slaves in our conversations. On
the third day of my visit, oi^negotiations about
the farm were approaching what Mr. B
considered a favourable conclusion, when he
casually informed me that his title-deeds were
in Frankfort, and that, if I was in other respects
pleased with the farm, he would go to Frank-
fort and bring the deeds for my inspection. I
expressed my satisfaction with the farm, and
told him I thought he had better bring the
deeds that I might look them over. On the
following morning he left for Frankfort. Before
leaving, I asked him to allow one of the slaves
112 Recollections and Experiences
to accompany me to the woods, while I amused
myself gunning. He replied that I might take
any of them I pleased. I selected a bright,
intelligent looking mulatto, whom I had frequently
noticed listening most attentively to my conver-
sation with his master. When we reached the
woods, he begged and implored me to buy him
and take him to Canada.
A WIFE TORN FROM HER HUSBAND AND SOLD.
He told me that his master had sold his wife,
to whom he had been married only a month, to
a hotel-keeper in Covington, he spoke of his
deep love for her ; that his master was going to
take him to Texas, and that he should never see
her again. The tears rolled down the poor fellow's
cheeks in streams. I told him to cheer up ;
that I would do my best to liberate him. I
then confided to him the object that brought
me there ; and told him that if liberty was
precious to him he must prepare to make great
efforts and sacrifices for it. I explained to him
that if he could reach Cincinnati, Ohio, he would
be safe from his pursuers, and that he would be
sheltered and protected until he reached Canada.
I then gave him the address of a friend in
Cincinnati on whom he could rely for protec-
tion, and also furnished him with some money,
a pistol, and pocket-compass for the journey
Of an Abolitionist. 113
to the Ohio. When he took the pistol in his
hand, I charged him not to use it except to pre-
vent his capture. He grasped the pistol like a
vice, and said, " Massa, I'll get to Cincinnati, if
I am not killed." I then asked him if any of
the other slaves were capable of undertaking the
journey. For a moment he was silent, thinking,
then he replied, " No, massa ; they are bad nig-
gers ; don't you trust dem." I advised him to
work on faithfully until Saturday night it was
now Wednesday and to make every prepara-
tion to leave at midnight on that day, and to
travel by night only. I told him I should go
direct to Covington on Friday, and would en-
deavour to liberate his wife ; that, if I succeeded,
he would find her at the house of the same friend
in Cincinnati, whose address I had given him.
I advised him to carry with him as much food
as possible, so as to avoid exposure while on his
journey. Poor Peter was nearly wild with his
prospects; so much so, indeed, that I urged him
to repress his feelings, for fear his conduct would
be noticed by his mistress, who had imbibed a
particular dislike to Peter since his separation
from his wife. Mrs. B told me he was a
wicked nigger ; that ever since Mr. B had
sold the gal, Peter had looked gloomy and
revengeful ; that she hated him. Mrs. B
could not understand that Peter had any right,
1 14 Recollections and Experiences
not even the right to sorrow, when his wife was
torn from him and sold to a stranger.
On Thursday, Mr. B returned. He had
been unsuccessful in obtaining the deeds, and
told me that his lawyers in Louisville, were
willing I should have every facility to examine
them in their office, if I pleased ; but, as they
held a small mortgage on the property, they
were unwilling to permit the deeds to go out
of their possession. This was very satisfactory,
and afforded me an opportunity to get away
without creating suspicion. During the night,
previous to my departure, I obtained an inter-
view with Peter, and reiterated my injunctions
to be brave, cautious, and persevering, while on
the journey, and again impressed upon his
memory my instructions. Poor fellow ! his eyes
filled with tears when I told him I was going
direct to Covington next day, and should try and
free his wife. When I bid him good-bye, he
frantically kissed my hand, saying, "Tell Polly
I'll be dere, sure. Tell her to wait for me."
Oh ! what a vile, wicked institution was that
which could make merchandise of such a man
as stood before me ! Yet, monstrous and cruel
as it was, it had its apologists and abettors
in the North ; while from every pulpit in the
Of an A bolitionist. 1 1 5
Slave States went forth the declaration, that
" slavery was a wise and beneficent institution,
devised by God for the protection of an inferior
On Friday morning I left, ostensibly for
Louisville, but went to Covington, which place
I reached on the following day. I had no diffi-
culty in finding the hotel, having got the name
of Polly's owner from Peter. It was a poorly
kept hostelry ; the proprietor evidently had no
knowledge of hotel-keeping. I however took
quarters with him, and found him a very com-
municative man. He informed me he had been
a farmer until within a year past, but finding that
farming on a small scale was unprofitable, he
had sold out, and bought this hotel. He was
the owner of two negroes, a man and woman ;
"the gal was likely, but mighty spunky." He
had paid twelve hundred dollars for her to Mr-
B , near Harrodsburg. He wanted her to
" take up " with his negro boy, but she refused.
He had threatened to send her to New Orleans
for sale, if she would not obey him. He
reckoned she would be glad to " take up " with
him before long ; a good whipping generally
brought them to their senses. He knew how to
manage such. The gal would bring sixteen
hundred or two thousand dollars in New Orleans,
because she was likely.
n6 Recollections and Exp
Before retiring that night, I requested the land-
lord to send to my room some warm water for
a bath. He said he would send the girl up
with it as soon as it was ready. In less than half
an hour, the water was placed in my room by a
bright, intelligent, straight-haired mulatto girl,
apparently twenty years of age. As soon as she
entered the room, I directed her to close the
door, and said in a whisper, "Are you Polly,
from Harrodsburg ?" She looked at me with a
frightened look, "Yes, massa, I is," she said. I
told her I had seen her husband, Peter, and that
he was going to run away from his master on
Sunday night ; that I had friends in Cincinnati
where he was going, who would secrete him until
she could join him, when they would both be
sent to Canada. She stood like a statue, while
I was talking. I directed her to get ready to
meet me on the following night, at twelve o'clock,
in front of the post office ; that I should leave
the hotel in the morning and make preparations
to have her taken across the river to the Ohio
shore. She was so much amazed that for a mo-
ment she was unable to speak ; at last she said,
"Please, massa, tell me it over again." I re-
peated my instructions as rapidly as possible for
fear I should be interrupted ; and warned her
against betraying herself by any outward expres-
sion of her feelings. When I concluded, she
Of an A bolitionist. 1 1 7
said, " Oh, massa, I'll pray to God for you I'll
be dere sure." She then left the room. Next
morning I delayed coming down to breakfast
until after the regular breakfast was over, hoping
to obtain another opportunity of charging her
memory with the instructions already given.
I was fortunate she served the table. When
I was leaving the table, I said to her, " To-night,
at twelve o clock, szire" She replied in a whisper*
" God will help me, massa, I'll try to." After
breakfast, I went to Cincinnati and with the
aid of friends, made arrangements to cross to
Covington at eleven o'clock that night.
LIBERATION OF THE WIFE.
Before dark on Sunday evening, I had com-
pleted all my arrangements. A short time be-
fore midnight, I crossed the river in a small boat
with two good assistants. Leaving them in
charge of the boat, I went up to the post office,
which I reached a few minutes before twelve.
I waited patiently for nearly half an hour, when
I observed a dark object approaching rapidly at
a distance of several hundred yards from where
I stood. As soon as I recognized the form, I
went toward her, and, telling her to follow me,
I turned down a dark street, and went toward
the river. We had made but little progress
Ii8 Recollections and Experiences
before we were stopped by a night watchman,
who said, " Where are you going ?" I replied
by putting a dollar in his hand and saying,
it's all right. He became oblivious, and passed
on his beat, greatly to my peace of mind. We
soon reached the boat ; she crouched down in
the bow, and we left the Kentucky shore.
CROSSING THE OHIO.
In a short time we were safe across the river,
and placing my charge in a cab which I had ready
at the shore, we drove rapidly up into the city
within a few blocks of my friend's residence. I
then dismissed the cab, and we wended our way
through several streets, until I reached the rear
entrance to the house of my friend. We were
admitted, and received the kind attention of our
generous and liberty-loving host. Poor Polly,
who had never before been treated with such
kindness, said to me : "Massa, is I free now ?" I
told her she was now free from her master ; and
that, as soon as her husband arrived, they both
would be sent to Cleveland, where I would meet
them, and help them across to Canada, where
they would be as free as the whites. Bidding
her and my noble hearted friend good-by, I
took the first train on Monday morning for
Cleveland. On my arrival there, I drove a few
Of an Abolitionist. 119
miles into the country to the house of a friend
of the cause, where I remained waiting for news
of Peter's arrival in Cincinnati. On Friday
morning I received a letter informing me that
Peter had arrived safely, though his feet were
torn and sore. The meeting between husband
and wife was described as most affecting. On
Monday evening following, I received another
letter stating that freight car No. 705, had been
hired to convey a box containing one " package of
hardware," and one of " dry goods," to Cleveland.
The letter also contained the key of the car.
The train containing this particular car was to
leave Cincinnati on Tuesday morning, and would
reach Cleveland, sometime during the evening of
the same day. I had but a short time conse-
quently to make preparations to convey the
fugitives across the lake.
A KENTUCKIAN IN SEARCH OF HIS CHATTEL.
On Tuesday morning, my good friend with
whom I had been stopping, drove me into Cleve-
land. As we passed the American House, I
caught sight of my Kentucky host standing in
front of the hotel. He did not observe me,
however, and we continued on our way to the
lake shore. I then sent my friend back to make
the acquaintance of the Kentuckian, and learn
1 20 Recollections and Experiences
the object of his visit to Cleveland. After a
long search, I found a schooner loading for Port
Stanley, Canada. The skipper said they would
be ready to sail on the following day if the
wind was favourable. I soon learned that the
captain was a Freemason, and confided to him
my secret. The result was, his agreement to
stow my freight away safely as soon as they
came on board, and carry them to Canada I
then returned to a locality agreed upon with
my friend, whom I found waiting for me, and was
then driven to the country. On the way out,
my friend informed me that he had made the
acquaintance of the Kentuckian, who felt very
sore over the loss of his slave ; but he did not
express any suspicion of me. He said he was
having posters printed, offering a reward of five
hundred dollars for the capture of the girl.
Toward night, I again went into the city, and
my friend made enquiry at the freight office of
the railroad, and ascertained that the train
containing car 705, would be in at 10 p.m. We
then went to a hotel near the depot, and
remained until the train came. I found the
car, and my faithful friend brought his carriage
as near as he could safely, without attracting
attention. I unlocked the door of the car, went
in, and closed the door after me. Listening
carefully, I could not detect the slightest signs
Of an Abolitionist. 121
of life in the car. I called in a low voice :
" Peter." A reply came at once : " Yes, massa,
shall I open the box ?" The two poor creatures
were in a dry-goods box, sufficiently large
to permit them to sit upright. I helped them
out of the box, and making sure that no
stranger was near, opened the door of the
car, and led them quickly to the carriage.
We then drove rapidly away to the boat, and
secreted the fugitives in the cabin. I then bid my
friend farewell, as I had decided not to leave the
two faithful creatures until they were safe in
SAFE ARRIVAL OF MAN AND WIFE IN CANADA.
After midnight the breeze freshened up, and
we made sail for the land of freedom. We had
a rough and tedious voyage, and did not reach
Canada until near night on the following day.
When our little vessel was safely moored along-
side the pier, I led my two companions on shore,
and told them they were now in a land where
freedom was guaranteed to all. And we kneeled
together on the soil of Canada, and thanked
the Almighty Father for his aid and protec-
tion. Two happier beings I never saw. Next
day I took them to London, and obtained situa-
tions for both Peter and his wife. I succeeded
122 Recollections and Experiences
also in enlisting the kind interest of several prom-
inent persons in their behalf, to whom I related
The next three months I spent in Canada,
visiting those refugees in whom I had taken a
personal interest. I found six in Chatham, twa
in London, four in Hamilton, two in Amherstburg,
and one in Toronto fifteen in all ; while several
others had gone from Canada to New England.
It afforded me great satisfaction to find them
sober, industrious members of society. It has.
often been remarked by both Canadians and
visitors from the States, that the negro refugees
in Canada were superior specimens of their race.
The observation is true, for none but superior
specimens could hope to reach Canada. The
difficulties and dangers of the route, and the
fact that they were often closely followed for
weeks, not only by human foes, but by blood-
hounds as well, required the exercise of rare
qualities of mind and body. Their route would
often lay through dismal swamps inhabited only
by wild animals and poisonous reptiles. Some-
times the distance between the land of bondage
and freedom was several hundreds of miles, every
Of an Abolitionist. 123
mile of which had to be traversed on foot. It
is, indeed, surprising that so large a number of
fugitives succeeded in reaching Canada, con-
sidering the obstacles they had to contend with
on their long and dangerous journey.
When I reflect upon the dangers that sur-
rounded me during that stormy period, I ac-
knowledge my indebtedness to. God for His
protection and support during my labours in
behalf of the oppressed people of the Southern
States ; and, although the results of my efforts
were insignificant in comparison to what I hoped
to accomplish when I began the work in 1855,
I still rejoice that I was enabled to do what
little I did for the poor and despised coloured
people of the Slave States.
NUMBER OF REFUGEE NEGROES IN CANADA.
The number of refugee negroes living in
Canada, at the outbreak of the slaveholder's
rebellion, was not far short of forty thousand.
Probably more than half of them were manu-
mitted slaves who, in consequence of unjust
laws, were compelled to leave the States where
they were manumitted. Many of these negroes
settled in the Northern States, but the greater
portion of them came to Canada.
1 24 Recollections and Experiences
THE FUGITIVE SLAVE LAW.
When the Fugitive Slave Law was enacted in
1850, it carried terror to every person of African
blood, in the Free States. Stung with hopeless
despair, more than six thousand Christian men
and women fled from their homes, and sought
refuge under the flag of Britain in Canada. In
the words of Charles Sumner : " The Free States
became little better than a huge outlying planta-
tion, quivering under the lash of the overseer ;
or rather they were a diversified hunting ground
for the flying bondman, resounding always with
the ' halloo' of the huntsman. There seemed to
be no rest. The chase was hardly finished at
Boston, before it broke out at Philadelphia, Syra-
cuse, or Buffalo, and then again raged furiously
over the prairies of the west. Not a case occur-
red which did not shock the conscience of the
country, and sting it with anger. The records
of the time attest the accuracy of this statement.
Perhaps there is no instance in history where
human passion showed itself in grander forms of
expression, or where eloquence lent all her gifts
more completely to the demands of liberty, than
the speech of Theodore Parker, (now dead and
buried in a foreign land), denouncing the capture
of Thomas Simms at Boston, and invoking the
judgment of God and man upon the agents in
Of an Abolitionist. 125
this wickedness. The great effort cannot be for-
gotten in the history of humanity. But every
case pleaded with an eloquence of its own, until
at last one of those tragedies occurred which
darken the heavens, and cry out with a voice that
will be heard. It was the voice of a mother
standing over her murdered child. Margaret
Garner had escaped from slavery with three
children, but she was overtaken at Cincinnati.
Unwilling to see her offspring returned to the
shambles of the South, this unhappy person,
described in the testimony as 'a womanly,
amiable, affectionate mother,' determined to
save them in the only way within her power.
With a butcher knife, coolly and deliberately,
she took the life of one of the children, described
as ' almost white, and a little girl of rare beauty,'
and attempted, without success, to take the life
of the other two. To the preacher who interro-
gated her, she exclaimed : ' The child is my
own, given me of God to do the best a mother
could in its behalf. I have done the best I
could ; I would have done more and better for
the rest ; I knew it was better for them to go
home to God than back to slavery.' But she
was restrained in her purpose. The Fugitive
Slave Act triumphed, and after the determina-
tion of sundry questions of jurisdiction, this
devoted historic mother, with the two children
126 Recollections and Experiences
that remained to her, and the dead body of the
little one just emancipated, was escorted by a
national guard of armed men to the doom of
slavery. But her case did not end with this
revolting sacrifice. So long as the human heart
is moved by human suffering, the story of this
mother will be read with alternate anger and
grief, while it is studied as a perpetual witness
to the slaveholding tyranny which then ruled the
Republic with execrable exactions, destined at
last to break out in war, as the sacrifice of
Virginia by her father is a perpetual witness to
the decemviral tyranny which ruled Rome. But
liberty is always priceless. There are other
instances less known in which kindred wrong
has been done. Every case was a tragedy
under the forms of law. Worse than poisoned
bowl or dagger was the certificate of a United
States commissioner who was allowed, without
interruption, to continue his dreadful trade."
THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF i860.
During no previous presidential election, (ex-
cept that of 1856, when Fremont and Buchanan
were the candidates), was there so much excite-
ment on the slavery question as that of 1860,
when Lincoln, Breckinridge, Bell, and Douglas
were the candidates.
Of an Abolitionist. 127
To enable my readers to form a correct idea
as to the political positions occupied by the
different candidates towards the institution of
slavery, I give below the " slavery plank of each
platform " on which the presidential candidates
went before the people for their suffrages :
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL (LINCOLN) PLATFORM.
ADOPTED AT CHICAGO, 1860.
Resolved, That we, the delegated representatives of the
Republican electors of the United States, in Convention
assembled, in discharge of the duty we owe to our constituents
and our country, unite in the following declarations :
1. That the history of the nation, during the last four years,
has fully established the propriety and necessity of the organ-
ization and perpetuation of the Republican party, and that
the causes which called it into existence are permanent in
their nature, and now, more than ever before, demand its
peaceful and constitutional triumph.
2. That the maintenance of the principles promulgated in
the Declaration of Independence and embodied in the Federal
Constitution, "That all men are created equal; that they are
endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights ; that
among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness ;
that to secure these rights, goverments are instituted among
men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the
governed," is essential to the preservation of our Republican
institutions ; and that the Federal Constitution, the Rights of
the States, and the Union of the States, must and shall be
7. That the new dogma, that the Constitution, of its own
force, carries Slavery into any or all of the Territories of the
United States, is a dangerous political heresy, at variance
with the explicit provisions of that instrument itself, with
contemporaneous exposition, and with legislative and judicial
precedent ; is revolutionary in its tendency, and subversive of
the peace and harmony of the country.
128 Recollections and Experiences
8. That the normal condition of all the territory of the
United States is that of freedom ; That as our Republican
fathers, when they had abolished Slavery in all our national
territory, ordained that ' ' no person should be deprived of
life, liberty, or property, without due process of law," it
becomes our duty, by legislation, whenever such legislation is
necessary, to maintion this provision of the Constitution
against all attempts to violate it ; and we deny the authority
of Congress, of a territorial legislature, or of any individuals,
to give legal existence to Slavery in any Territory of the
9. That we brand the recent re-opening of the African
slave-trade, under the cover of our national flag, aided by
perversions of judicial power, as a crime against humanity
and a burning shame to our country and age ; and we call
upon Congress to take prompt and efficient measures for the
total and final suppression of that execrable traffic.
NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC (DOUGLAS) PLATFORM.
ADOPTED AT CHARLESTON AND BALTIMORE, 1860.
1. Resolved, That we, the Democracy of the Union, in Con-
vention assembled, hereby declare our affirmance of the follow-
ing resolutions :
Resolved, That the enactments of State Legislatures to-
defeat the faithful execution of the Fugitive Slave Law, are
hostile in character, subversive of the Constitution, and revo-
lutionary in their effect.
Resolved, That it is in accordance with the true interpreta-
tion of the Cincinnati Platform, that, during the existence of
the Territorial Governments, the measure of restriction, what-
ever it may be, imposed by the Federal Constitution on the
power of the Territorial Legislature over the subject of the
domestic relations, as the same has been, or shall hereafter be,
finally determined by the Supreme Court of the United
States, shall be respected by all good citizens, and enforced
with promptness and fidelity by every branch of the General
Of an Abolitionist. 129
NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC (BRECKINRIDGE)
ADOPTED AT CHARLESTON AND BALTIMORE, 1860.
Resolved, That the Platform adopted by the Democratic
party at Cincinnati be affirmed, with the following explanatory
1. That the Government of a Territory organized by an Act
of Congress, is provisional and temporary ; and during its
existence, all citizens of the United States have an equal right
to settle with their property in the Territory, without their
rights, either of person or property, being destroyed or
impaired by Congressional or Territorial legislation.
2. That it is the duty of the Federal Government, in all its
departments, to protect, when necessary, the rights of persons
and property in the Territories, and wherever else its consti-
tutional authority extends.
3. That when the settlers in a Territory having an adequate
population, form a State Constitution, in pursuance of law,
the right of sovereignity commences, and, being consummated
by admission into the Union, they stand on an equal footing
with the people of other States ; and the State thus organized
ought to be admitted into the Federal Union, whether its
Constitution prohibits or recognizes the institution of Slavery.
5. That the enactments of State Legislatures to defeat the
faithful execution of the Fugitive Slave Law are hostile in
character, subversive of the Constitution, and revolutionary
in their effect.
CONSTITUTIONAL UNION (BELL-EVERETT)
ADOPTED AT BALTIMORE, 1860.
Whereas, Experience has demonstrated that Platforms
adopted by the partisan conventions of the country have had
the effect to mislead and deceive the people, and at the same
time to widen the political divisions of the country, by the
creation and encouragement of geographical and sectional
parties ; therefore,
1 30 Recollections and Experiences
Resolved, That it is both the part of patriotism and of duty
to recognize no political principle other than THE CONSTITUTION
OF THE COUNTRY, THE UNION OF THE STATES, AND THE EN-
FORCEMENT OF THE LAWS, and that as representatives of the
Constitutional Union men of the country in National Conven-
tion assembled, we hereby pledge ourselves to obtain, protect,
and defend, separately and unitedly, these great principles of
public liberty and national safety, against all enemies at home
and abroad, believing that thereby peace may once more be
restored to the country, the rights of the People and of the
States re-established, and the Government again placed in
that condition, of justice, fraternity, and equality, which
under the example and Constitution of our fathers, has
solemnly bound every citizen of the United States to maintain
a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic trail -
quility, provide for the common defence, promote the general
welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and
ELECTORAL VOTE, PRESIDENTAL ELECTION OF
For Lincoln and Hamlin ISO
For Breckinridge and Lane . , 72
For BeU and Everett 39
For Douglas and Johnson 12
Whole Electoral Vote 303
Lincoln's majority over all 57
When enough returns from the election had been received
to render it certain that Abraham Lincoln would be the next
President, public meetings were held in the city of Charleston
and in other places in the State of South Carolina, at which
resolutions were adopted in favor of the Secession of the State
from the Union.
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE OF SOUTH
DONE IN CONVENTION, DECEMBER 24, 1860.
The State of South Carolina, having determined to resume
her separate and equal place among nations, deems it due to
Of an Abolitionist. 131
herself, to the remaining United States of America, and to
the nations of the world, that she should declare the causes
which have led to this act.
We affirm that these ends for which this government was
instituted have been defeated, and the government itself has
been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slave-
holding States. These States have assumed the right of
deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions, and
have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the
States and recognized by the Constitution ; they have de-
nounced as sinful the institution of slavery ; they have
permitted the open establishment among them of societies
whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloin the
property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged
and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes, and
those who remain have been incited by emissaries to servile
Sectional interest and animosity will deepen the irritation,
and all hope of remedy is rendered vain by the fact that
public opinion at the north has invested a great political error
with the sanctions of a more erroneous religious belief.
We, therefore, the people of South Carolina, appealing to
the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our
intentions, have solemnly declared that the union heretofore
existing between this State and the other States of North
America is dissolved, and that the State of South Carolina has
resumed her position among the nations of the world as a free,
sovereign, and independent State.
And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance
on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge
to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.
On the same day the remaining representa-
tives in Congress from South Carolina vacated
their seats and returned home ; and thus began
the slaveholders' rebellion.
THE SLAVEHOLDERS' REBELLION.
[OR many months after the death of John
Brown, I felt that the defeat of his plans
at Harper's Ferry was a great calamity to
the enslaved. I saw nothing in store for them but
toil and bondage for another generation. For who,
at that time, foresaw the mighty conflict that was
soon to be inaugurated by the haughty slave-
holders, in which they and their cherished insti-
tution were to be completely overthrown.
The seed sown at Harper's Ferry, had fallen
into rich soil. The slaveholders were convinced
that unless they could obtain from the North
further guarantees for the protection of the insti-
tution of slavery that secession from the Free
States was their only salvation. Their insolent
demands upon the North were met by a quiet
Of an Abolitionist. 133
determination upon the part of the people ; that
not another foot of the public domain should be
given up to slavery. Northern politicians had
become so accustomed to yielding obedience to
the commands of the slave drivers, that strong
efforts were made to effect a compromise with
the pro-slavery leaders in Congress.
But the patience of the peace-loving people of
the Free States, was at length exhausted ; they
had submitted to the outrageous provisions of
the Fugitive Slave Law ; they had looked on and
seen the champions of freedom in Congress in-
sulted and assaulted by the slave drivers of the
South ; they had borne for years the taunts and
sneers of the Southern chivalry ; and now, they
resolved to assert their just rights and privileges
as citizens of a free country.
The threats and demands of the slaveholders
were treated with the contempt they deserved.
CONFIDENTIAL SERVICE IN CANADA.
A few months after the inauguration of Presi-
dent Lincoln, I received a letter from a friend in
Washington, requesting me to visit him at my
very earliest convenience ; that he desired to
confer with me on a subject of importance.
134 Recollections and Experiences
The day after my arrival in Washington, my
friend introduced me to the President. Mr.
Lincoln received me very cordially, and invited
me to dine with him that day. Assembled at
the President's table were several prominent
gentlemen, to whom Mr. Lincoln introduced me
as " a red-hot abolitionist from Canada."
One of the guests, a prominent member of
Congress (severely injured in after years by
coming in contact with the Credit Mobilier\
remarked, in a slurring manner, that he wished
all the negroes of the United States would
emigrate to Canada, as we Canadians were so
fond of them. Mr. Lincoln said : " It would be
all the better for the negroes, that's certain."
"Yes," I replied, a little warmly, "it would
be all the better for the negroes ; for, under our
flag, the blackest negro is entitled to, and freely
accorded every right and privilege enjoyed by
native Canadians. We make no distinction in
respect to the colour of a man's skin. It is true,
we live under a monarchial form of govern-
ment ; but, under that government, every man,
and woman, whether white, black, or brown,
have equal rights before our laws."
Mr. Lincoln, in a jocular way, said to the
member of Congress, " If you are not careful,
Of an Abolitionist. 135
you will bring on a war with Canada. I think
we have got a big enough job on hand now."
The conversation then turned on the attitude
of England toward the Free States in their
contest with the slaveholders. One gentleman
remarked that he was surprised to see so many
manifestations of unfriendliness on the part of
the English and Canadian people, and asked me
how I accounted for it. I replied, "How can you
expect it otherwise, when there exists in the
Northern States so wide a diversity of opinion as
to the justness of your cause ? The unfriendly
expressions of an English statesman, or the
avowed sympathy of a few English and Canadian
papers, are noted by you with painful surprise ;
while the treasonable utterances and acts of
some of your own political leaders and people
are quite overlooked. Besides, you cannot ex-
pect the sympathy of the Christian world in your
behalf, while you display such an utter disregard
for the rights and liberties of your own citizens,
as I witnessed in this city yesterday."
Mr. Lincoln asked what I alluded to. I re-
plied, " A United States Marshall passed through
Washington yesterday, having in his charge a
coloured man, who he was taking over to Vir-
ginia under the provisions of your Fugitive Slave
136 Recollections and Experiences
Law. The man had escaped from his master
who is an open rebel and fled to Wilmington,
Delaware, where he was arrested, and taken
back into slavery."
After dinner, Mr. Lincoln led me to a window,
distant from the rest of the party, and said,
" Mr. S. sent for you at my request. We need
a confidential person in Canada to look after
the rebel emissaries there, and keep us posted
as to their schemes and objects. You have
been strongly recommended to me for the posi-
tion. Your mission shall be as confidential as
you please. No one here but your friend Mr. S.
and myself, shall have any knowledge of your
position. Your communications may be sent
direct to me, under cover to Major . Think
it over to-night ; and if you can accept the mis-
sion, come up and see me at nine o'clock to-mor-
row morning." When I took my leave of him, he
said, " I hope you will decide to serve us."
The position thus offered, was one not suited
to my tastes or feelings, but, as Mr. Lincoln
appeared very desirous that I should accept it,
I concluded to lay aside my prejudices and
accept the responsibilities of the mission. I
was also persuaded to this conclusion by the
wishes of my friend.
Of an Abolitionist. 137
At nine o'clock next morning, I waited upon
the President, and announced my decision. He
grasped my hand in a hearty manner, and said :
" Thank you ; thank you ; I am glad of it."
I said : " Mr. Lincoln, if even one of the
objects of your Government was the liberation
from bondage of the poor slaves of the South,
I would feel justified in accepting any position
where I could best serve you, but when I see
so much tenderness for that vile institution and
for the interests of slaveholders, I almost - doubt
whether your efforts to crush the rebellion will
meet with the favour of heaven."
He replied : " I sincerely wish that all men
were free, and I especially wish for the complete
abolition of slavery in this country ; but my
private wishes and feelings must yield to the
necessities of my position. My first duty is, to
maintain the integrity of the Union. With
that object in view, I shall endeavour to save it,
either with or without slavery. I have always
been an anti-slavery man. Away back in 1839,
when I was a member of the Legislature of
Illinois, I presented a resolution asking for
the emancipation of slavery in the District of
Columbia, when, with but few exceptions, the
popular mind of my State was opposed to it.
138 Recollections and Experiences
If the destruction of the institution of slavery
should be one of the results of this conflict
which the slaveholders have forced upon us,
I shall rejoice as hearty as you. In the mean-
time, help us to circumvent the machinations
of the rebel agents in Canada. There is no
doubt they will use your country as a communi-
cating link with Europe, and also with their
friends in New York. It is quite possible also
that they may make Canada a base, to annoy
our people along the frontier. Keep us well
posted of what they say and do."
After a lengthy conversation relative to pri-
vate matters connected with my mission, I rose
to leave, when he said : " I will walk down to
' Willards' with you, the hotel is on my way to the
Capitol, where I have an engagement at noon."
Before we reached the hotel, a man came
up to the President, and thrust a letter into
his hand, at the same time applying for some
office in Wisconsin. I saw that the President
was offended at the rudeness, for he passed the
letter back without looking at it, saying : " No,
sir ! I am not going to open shop here." This
was said in a most emphatic manner, but accom-
panied by a comical gesture which caused the
rejected applicant to smile. As we continued
Of an Abolitionist. 139
our walk, the President remarked on the annoy-
ances incident to his position, saying : " These
office-seekers are a curse to this country. No
sooner was my election certain, than I became
the prey of hundreds of hungry, persistent
applicants for office, whose highest ambition is
to feed at the government crib."
When he bid me good-bye, he said : " Let
me hear from you once a week at least."
As he was about to leave me, a young army
officer stopped him, and made some request,
to which the President replied with a good
deal of humour : " No ; I can't do that. I
must not interfere : they would scratch my
eyes out, if I did. You must go to the proper
I could not help watching the receding form
of the President, as with long, indifferent strides
he wended his way towards the Capitol. What
a dreadful responsibility rested on that man !
The hopes of millions of Republicans throughout
the world were fixed upon him ; while twenty
millions of his own people looked to him for the
salvation of the Republic, and four millions of
poor down-trodden slaves in the South looked
to him for freedom.
140 Recollections and Experiences
Mr. Lincoln was no ordinary man. He had a
quick and ready perception of facts, a retentive
memory, and a logical turn of mind, which
patiently and unwaveringly followed every link
in the chain of thought on every subject which
he investigated. He was honest, temperate, and
forgiving. He was a good man a man of
noble and kindly heart. I never heard him
speak unkindly of any man ; even the rebels
received no word of anger from him.
CONFEDERATES IN CANADA.
Immediately upon my arrival in Montreal, I
sought opportunities to familiarize myself with
the names, habits, and occupations of the various
Confederates in Canada. I had but little diffi-
culty in accomplishing this purpose, as the Con-
federates looked upon all Canadians as their
The principal Confederate agent in Canada at
that time, was an ex-Member of Buchanan's
administration. The contemptible conduct of
this man (while still a member of the Govern-
ment), in warning the rebels of Charleston of
the sailing of the Steamer " Star of the West,"
with provisions for the beseiged garrison at Fort
Sumpter, will furnish a good index to his char-
Of an Abolitionist. 141
The plots and schemes devised by him and
his subordinates to furnish the rebels with
clothing, boots and shoes, &c., via Nassau and
Cuba, and to keep open a channel of commu-
nication with the Confederate States, kept me
continually on the qui vive to frustrate their
REBEL POSTAL SERVICE.
Toward the close of 1862, I received satisfac-
tory information that a regular system of postal
service was in operation between the Confederate
States and Europe, via Canada. Diligently and
earnestly I sought for a clue, week after week
passed away, but nothing was discovered. I
placed detectives on all the trains leaving Mon-
treal, with instructions to closely watch every
stranger, and especially those of southern aspect.
All my efforts, however, were unsuccessful.
I finally concluded to go to Detroit, and insti-
tute some enquiries in that section. With that
object in view, I sent for a cabman (one that I
usually.employed), to convey me to the depot for
the 9 p. m. night train west ; he came to inform
me that it would be impossible for him to drive
me that night, as he was obliged to take a lady
from Lapraire to Champlain, a small village in
the State of New York, not far from the boun-
142 Recollections and Experiences
dary line between Canada and the United States.
He said he had a brother living at Laprarie, who
was regularly employed to carry a lady once a
fortnight from Laprarie to Champlain ; but that
he was ill, and had sent for him to take his place.
Some further questions from me elicited the fact
that my cabman had on one former occasion
filled his brother's place to carry the same lady
over the same route.
My suspicions were now aroused, I felt confi-
dent that this lady had something to do with the
Confederate postal service, and I closely ques-
tioned him as to her appearance and habits, and
ostensible business, and why she travelled in
such an unusual manner and by such a round-
about route. I put these questions in such a
way as not to excite suspicion in his mind as to
my object. The information I obtained from
him was of such importance that I decided to
reach Champlain in advance of the cabman and
his strange passenger. I consequently took the
evening train to Rouse's Point, and from thence
was driven in a carriage to Champlain.
I engaged quarters at the principal hotel in
the village, and in a short time won the
confidence of the talkative and consequential
little landlord, who finally, on my referring to
Of an Abolitionist. 143
the lady in question, informed me that she was
a Mrs. "Williams," (an alias, no doubt,) an agent
for a religious tract society ; that she passed
over this route from Canada about once a fort-
night ; and that she was a very excellent person
indeed. He, however, knew nothing about her,
except that she said she was a tract distributer,
travelling between Upper Canada and Boston.
He finally remarked, " I expect her here either
to-night or to-morrow night, on her way to
Boston. She always arrives here in the night :
sometimes it's early morning."
Securing a front bed-room, I was in a position
to observe whoever came down the road leading
from Canada, as the hotel fronted the road.
Patiently I waited at the window from 10 p.m.
to 3 a.m., looking out into the darkness. Shortly
after three o'clock, I heard the rumbling of an
approaching carriage coming down the road,
and in a short time a cab drove up, and I
saw my Montreal cabman alight and open the
door of the carriage, from which a lady, closely
muffled, stepped and entered the house. She
was placed in a room on the opposite side of
the hall to the one I occupied. To prevent
her leaving the house without my knowledge, I
determined to remain awake the rest of the
night. At six o'clock I saw my cabman drive
away towards Canada.
144 Recollections and Experiences
At the breakfast table, I sat vis-a-vis with the
object of my search. She was a keen, intelligent,
witty, and handsome woman of medium size,
with black eyes and hair, about 45 years of age.
She conversed quite freely with the landlord's
wife, but at times she would check herself,
betraying a startled half-frightened look. Her
conversation was principally upon her experi-
ences as an agent of a "Religious Tract Society."
At length an opportunity offered for me to engage
in conversation with her. When I informed her
that I was Canadian, she became less reserved
in her manner, and chatted familiarly on her
trips through Canada! I soon learned that it
was her intention to go to Rouse's Point by the
As soon as breakfast was over, I telegraphed
to a detective at Rouse's Point to meet me, on
the arrival of the train, prepared to make an
arrest. When Mrs. Williams was seated in the
car, I took a seat near her, to prevent her from
escaping. Before the train reached the Point,
it slackened up, and a detective officer came
into the cars. I pointed out Mrs. Williams to
him, and ordered him to take her to his house
as soon as she stepped from the car, to watch
every movement she made, and not permit her
to have any communication with confederates.
Of an Abolitionist. 14$
ARREST OF A REBEL MAIL CARRIER.
As soon as the train entered the depot at
Rouse's Point, the detective arrested her, and,
with the aid of an assistant, took her to his
house, where I immediately followed. I directed
the wife of the detective to rigidly search her,
and, if any documents were found, to call her
husband and give them to him. Notwithstanding
her protests, tears, and prayers, Mrs. Williams
was thoroughly searched, and with good results,
for eighty-two letters were found sewed into her
under garments. The majority of them were
addressed to rebel emissaries in Europe, the
balance, to private individuals in the Northern
States. After copying the address, and placing
a number on each letter, I secured them safely
on my person, and telegraphed to the President
the substance of the above facts. In less than
an hour I received instructions to hasten to
Washington with the confiscated letters.
Before leaving Rouse's Point I had an inter-
view with Mrs. Williams, during which I offered
to secure her release, providing she would
disclose certain information, that I knew she
possessed, relative to the rebel mail route from
the Confederacy to Europe via Canada. She,
however, positively refused, and declared that
146 Recollections and Experiences
she would die in prison before she would
disclose the secret.
Having instructed the officer to keep Mrs.
Williams under close arrest until he received
further orders from me, I left for Washington.
On my arrival there (about midnight), I went
direct to the Executive mansion, and sent my
card to the President, who had retired to bed.
In two or three minutes the porter returned, and
requested me to accompany him to the Presi-
dent's office, where, in a short time, Mr. Lincoln
would join me. The room into which I was
ushered, was the same in which I had spent
several hours with the President on the occasion
of my first interview with him fourteen months
before. Scattered about the floor, and lying open
on the table, were several military maps and
documents indicating recent use. On the wall
I observed a picture of John Bright, of England.
INTERVIEW WITH PRESIDENT LINCOLN.
In a few minutes, the President came in, and
received me in the most friendly manner. I
expressed my regret at disturbing him at such
an hour. He replied in a good humoured
manner, saying, " No, no, you may route me
up whenever you please. I have slept with
Of an Abolitionist. 147
one eye open since I came to Washington ;
I never close both, except when an office-seeker
is looking for me."
" I am glad (referring to a letter I had sent
him) you are pleased with the Emancipation
Proclamation (issued a few weeks previously),
but there is work before us yet ; we must make
that Proclamation effective by victories over our
enemies. It's a paper bullet after all, and of no
account, except we can sustain it."
The President's efforts being now directed to
give freedom to the poor, despised, and long
suffering people of the South, I expressed my
belief that God would now aid the cause of the
Union. He replied, " Well, I hope so ! but the
suffering and misery that attends this conflict,
is killing me by inches. I wish it was over."
CONFISCATED REBEL DESPATCHES.
I then laid before the President the "rebel
mail." He carefully examined the address of
each letter, making occasional remarks. At
length he found one addressed to an ex-Presi-
dent of the United States, then residing in
New Hampshire, and another to an ex-Attorney
General of the United States, also a resident
of that State. He appeared much surprised,
148 Recollections and Experiences
and remarked with a sigh, but, without the
slightest tone of asperity, " I will have copies
made of these letters, after which they shall be
sent enclosed in official envelopes to these
parties." When he had finished examining the
addresses, he tied up all those addressed to
private individuals, saying, " I will not bother
with them ; but these look like official letters :
I guess I'll go through them now." He then
opened one after the other, and read their con-
tents slowly and carefully.
While he was thus occupied, I had an excel-
lent opportunity of studying this extraordinary
man. A marked change had taken place in his
countenance since my first interview with him.
He looked much older, and bore traces of
having passed through months of painful anxiety
and trouble. There was a sad, serious look in
his eyes that spoke louder than words of the
disappointments, trials, and discouragements he
had encountered since the war began. The
wrinkles about the eyes and forehead were
deeper ; the lips were firmer, but indicative of
kindness and forbearance. The great struggle
had brought out the hidden riches of his noble
nature, and developed virtues and capacities
which surprised his oldest and most intimate
friends. He was simple but astute : he pos-
Of an Abolitionist. 149
sessed the rare faculty of seeing things just as
they are : he was a just, charitable, and honest
REBELS IN NEW BRUNSWICK.
Having finished reading a letter, he said :
" Read this (handing me a letter signed by the
Confederate Secretary of State), and tell me
what you think of it." The letter was addressed
to the rebel envoy at the French Court, and
stated that preparations were being made to
invade the Eastern frontier of the United States
in the vicinity of Calais, Maine. It also
expressed the opinion that an attack in so
unexpected a quarter would dishearten the
Northern people, and encourage the Democrats
to oppose the continuation of the war.
I told the President that this confirmed the
truth of the information I had received several
weeks previously, and satisfied me that the rebels
would make an attempt to raid on some of
the Eastern States from the British Provinces.
He replied : " I wish you would go to New
Brunswick, and see what the rebels are up to.
The information contained in these despatches is
of great importance. Two of them I cannot read,
as they are written in cipher ; but I'll find some
way to get at their contents."
1 50 Recollections and Experiences
I then rose to go, saying that I would go to
the hotel, and have a rest. ' No, no ! it is now
three o'clock ; you shall stay here while you
are in town. Come with me, I'll find you a
bed," said the President ; and, leading the way>
he took me into a bedroom, saying : " Take a
good sleep, you shall not be disturbed." Bidding
me " Good-night," he left the room to go back
and pore over the rebel letters until daylight,
as he afterwards told me.
If ever the Almighty raised up an individual
to perform a special service, that person was
Abraham Lincoln. No parent could evince a
greater interest in the welfare of his family than
he did for the safety and influence of his country.
Every faculty he possessed was devoted to the
salvation of the Union.
I did not awake from my sleep until eleven
o'clock in the forenoon, soon after which Mr.
Lincoln came to my room, and laughingly
said : "When you are ready, I'll pilot you down
to breakfast," which he did ; and, seating him-
self at the table, expressed his fears that trouble
was brewing in the Province of New Brunswick ;
that he had gathered further information on that
point from the correspondence, that convinced
him that such was the case. He was here
Of an A bolitionist. 1 5 1
interrupted by a servant, who handed him a
card ; upon reading which he left me, saying,
"Come up to my room after breakfast."
On entering his room, I found him busily en-
gaged in writing, at the same time repeating in a
low voice the words of a poem, which I remem-
bered reading many years before. When he
stopped writing, I asked him who was the author
of that poem. He replied, " I do not know. I
have written the verses down from memory at
the request of a lady who is much pleased
with them. I wish I knew who was the author
of them." He passed the sheet on which he had
written the verses to me, saying, " Have you
ever read them ?" I replied that I had many
years ago ; and that I should be happy to have
a copy of them in his handwriting, when he had
time and inclination for such work. He said,
" Well, you may keep that copy, if you wish."
The following is the poem as copied from Mr.
Lincoln's manuscript given me on that occasion :
OH! WHY SHOULD THE SPIRIT OF MORTAL BE
Oh ! why should the spirit of mortal be proud ?
Like a swift-fleeting meteor, a fast flying cloud,
A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave,
He passeth from life to his rest in the grave.
152 Recollections and Experiences
The leaves of the oak and the willows shall fade,
Be scattered around and together be laid ;
As the young and the old, the low and the high,
Shall crumble to dust, and together shall die.
The infant a mother attended and loved :
The mother that infant's affection who proved ;
The father, that mother and infant who blest
Each, all are away to that dwelling of rest.
The maid, on whose brow, 011 whose cheek, in whose eye,
Shone beauty and pleasure her triumphs are by j
And alike from the minds of the living erased,
Are the memories of mortals that loved her and praised.
The hand of the king that the sceptre hath borne ;
The brow of the priest that the mitre hath worn ;
The eye of the sage, the heart of the brave,
Are hidden and lost in the depths of the grave.
The peasant, whose lot was to sow and to reap ;
The herdsman, who climbed with his goats up the steep ;
The beggar, who wandered in search of his bread,
Have faded away like the grass which we tread.
So the multitude goes, like the flower or the weed,
That withers away to let others succead ;
So the multitude comes, even those we behold,
To repeat every tale that has often been told.
For we are the same our fathers have been ;
We see the same sights they often have seen ;
We drink the same stream, we see the same sun,
And run the same course our fathers have run.
The thoughts we are thinking, our fathers did think ;
From the death we are shrinking, our fathers did shrink ;
To the life we are clinging, our fathers did cling ;
But it speeds from us all like the bird on the wing.
Of an A bolitionist. 1 5 3
They loved but the story we cannot unfold ;
They scorned but the heart of the haughty is cold ;
They grieved but no wail from their slumbers will come.
They joyed but the tongue of their gladness is dumb.
They died ; ah ! they died. We things that are now ;
That walk on the turf that lies over their brow,
And make in their dwelling a transient abode
Meet the things that they met on their pilgrimage road.
Yea, hope and despondency, pleasure and pain,
Are mingled together in sunshine and rain ;
And the smile and the tear, and the song and the dirge,
Still follow each other like surge upon surge.
'Tis the wink of an eye, the draught of a breath,
From the blossom of health to the paleness of death,
From the gilded saloon to the bier and the shroud.
Oh ! why should the spirit of mortal be proud.
OFF TO NEW BRUNSWICK.
The rebel documents contained abundant
evidence that the Confederate Government was
organizing a band in Canada to raid upon the
United States frontier, and the President re-
quested me to "go to New Brunswick, and ascer-
tain what the rebels were up to in that quarter."
That night I left Washington, and arrived in
Boston in time to take the steamer for St. John,
N. B. The boat was crowded with passengers ;
and I had to share my stateroom with a gentle-
man who came aboard at Portland. The fea-
154 Recollections and Experiences
tures of my room companion were dark and
coarse ; his hair black and curling. He was
about six feet in height, of tough and wiry frame.
His language and general appearance was strik-
ingly Southern. I retired to my berth before
him, selecting the top one, that I might the
more readily observe him ; for I had already
concluded that my room-companion was a
OCCUPY A ROOM WITH A REBEL.
When he entered the stateroom, he intro-
duced himself as the owner of one of the
berths, and said : 4< I am glad you are not a
Yankee." I asked him how he knew that. He
replied : " I asked the clerk, and he said you
were a Canadian ; besides, you don't look like a
Yankee." " Well," I said, " you do not look like
a Canadian or a Yankee either ; I would take
you to be a Southern military officer." This
touched his vanity, and he admitted that he
had been in the military service of the Con-
federacy, but that he was now engaged on
special service. I felt now that I had sprung
the mine. I told him that I thought the Con-
federate Government were blind to their own
interests, in this, that no advantage had been
taken of the Canadian frontier to harass and
annoy the Yankees along the border.
Of an Abolitionist. 155
WAR ON THE UNITED STATES FRONTIER.
" Well," said he, " we have had all we could
do to keep the Yanks from our homes ; but
they will soon know how it feels to have the
war carried into their own homes. I tell you,
before long, you will hear something exciting."
I replied : " I have heard that so frequently that
I don't place much reliance upon such reports."
I saw he was nettled at what I had said,
and hoped it would make him indiscreet. He
remained silent a moment, and then said :
" What I have told you is the truth, and before
two weeks are over you will hear something
exciting from Eastport. I don't mind telling
you, because you are a Canadian, and the
Canadians are all on our side. Yes, sir ; we have
already a number of picked men in St. Andrews
and St. Johns, New Brunswick, and we have a
good supply of stores on Grand Menan Island.
I expect thirty men from Canada next week.
As soon as they arrive, we shall all go to
Grand Menan, and prepare for an attack on
Eastport ; and, by , we intend to wipe it
out. And then we shall attack Calais in the
rear, and, if hard pressed, retreat into New
Brunswick." This astounding news corroborated
the information obtained from the captured
156 Recollections and Experiences
ARREST OF A REBEL OFFICER.
On the arrival of the steamer at Eastport, I
secured the arrest of my new acquaintance, and
had him placed in prison. I telegraphed to
Washington the information obtained from the
rebel officer, and a gunboat was sent from Port-
land to Eastport. In forty-eight hours from my
.arrival, Eastport and Calais were fully prepared
to meet the raiders. The Provincial authorities
were also warned from Washington, and prompt
steps taken to prevent any infraction of the
Neutrality Laws on" the New Brunswick border.
Returning to Portland, I sent the President a
detailed narrative of the facts above related,
and then returned to Montreal. In a few days, I
received the following letter from Mr. Lincoln :
Washington, Feb. 9, 1863.
MY DEAR SIR,
I tender you my warmest thanks for
the effective and invaluable services you have
recently rendered me. * * *
Accept my best wishes for your prosperity
[Fac-simile of signature.']
Of an Abolitionist. 157
PERSECUTION OF JOSHUA R. GIDDINGS.
The cruel and unnecessary arrest of the Hon.
Joshua R. Giddings, Consul General of the
United States, at Montreal, for the alleged con-
nivance at the kidnapping of one Redpath, was
incited by the Confederates in Montreal. Red-
path had fled to Canada to escape punishment for
crimes committed during the draft riots in New
York. A detective officer was sent to Montreal
to arrest him. He was arrested, ironed, placed
in a close carriage, and driven to the depot.
Where he was then guarded by an assistant
while the New York detective went to the
United States Consulate, and told Mr. Giddings
that he had arrested a man charged with murder
in New York ; and that having complied with
the requirements of the Extradition Treaty,
he wished Mr. Giddings to give him a letter to
General Dix advising the General to compensate
the detective for the services of an assistant
required to convey Redpath to New York. Mr.
Giddings, without ascertaining (for which he was
in fault) whether all the formalities of the extra-
dition treaty had been complied with, gave the
detective a note to General Dix, in which he
simply requested the General to remunerate the
detective for the service of an assistant
158 Recollections and Experiences
When the detective reached New York with
his prisoner, Redpath obtained legal advice.
The result of which was, that the Canadian au-
thorities demanded the return of Redpath to
Canada. He was consequently brought back
and liberated. Then the Southern agents
in Montreal, took charge of this criminal, and
induced him to prosecute Mr. Giddings. This
was done to gratify their feelings of hatred
toward a man who had for thirty years fought
for the cause of human freedom.
Mr. Giddings was arrested on Sunday evening
while dining at the house of a friend. The
arrest was made on a day and at an hour when
it was hoped he would be unable to obtain bail,
and consequently would have to lay in jail over
night. Messrs. Harrison Stephens and Ira Gould,
two prominent and wealthy citizens of Montreal,
gave bonds for thirty thousand dollars for Mr.
Giddings's appearance at the trial of the case.
Thus his enemies were baulked in their mean
attempt to throw an innocent old man into
prison. Mr. Giddings was in poor health at the
time this outrage was perpetrated ; and he fret-
ted and grieved over it continually. After the
rebel agents had used Redpath for their purpose,
they cast him off. I concluded it was now
Of an A bolitionist. 1 59
a good time to get rid of Redpath and this per-
secution of Mr. Giddings. I found the miserable
creature after considerable search, and prevailed
upon him to withdraw the suit, and confess that
he had been urged by the Confederate agents in
in Montreal to take action against Mr. Giddings.
This persecution, I have no doubt, hastened the
death of this noble old standard-bearer of liberty.
DEATH OF ME. GIDDINGS.
He died suddenly while amusing himself with
a game of billiards in the St. Lawrence Hall.
In Congress, Mr. Giddings stood shoulder to
shoulder with John Quincy Adams, in resist-
ing the tyrannical and despotic demands of
the slave drivers. On one occasion when Mr.
Giddings was addressing the House in behalf of
freedom, a Southern member approached him
with a bowie knife in his hand, and threatened
to kill him on the spot, if he did not cease speak-
ing. Mr. Giddings was immediately surrounded
by his friends, and continued his speech, while
the cowardly ruffian who threatened him sneaked
back to his seat. Mr. Giddings was not only a
good man, but he was morally and physically a
brave man. He espoused the cause of the slave
at a time when an abolitionist was despised and
persecuted ; and he remained all his life a warm
160 Recollections and Experiences
and constant friend of the oppressed. The
many happy hours passed in his company, dur-
ing the darkest periods of the war, will ever
remain bright spots in my memory.
STEPS TOWARD EMANCIPATION.
The following Acts and Proclamation indicate
the progressive steps by which, in the end, com-
plete emancipation was reached.
Attention is hereby called to an Act of Congress, entitled
"An Act to make an additional article of war," approved
March 13, 1862, and which Act is in the words and figures
Be, it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the United States of America in Congress assembled: That
hereafter the following shall be promulgated as an additional
article of war, for the government of the army of the United
States, and shall be obeyed and observed as such :
Article. All officers or persons in the military or naval ser-
vice of the United States are prohibited from employing any
of the forces under their respective commands for the purpose
of returning fugitives from service or labor, who may have
escaped from any persons to whom such labor is claimed to be
due, and any officer who shall be found guilty by a court-mar-
tial of violating this article, shall be dismissed from the ser-
SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That this Act shall take
effect from and after its passage.
Also, to the ninth and tenth sections of an Act entitled,
"An Act to suppress insurrection, to punish treason and
rebellion, to seize and confiscate the property of rebels, and
for other purposes," approved July 17, 1862, and which
sections are in the words and figures following :
Of an Abolitionist. 161
SEC. 9. And be it further enacted, That all slaves or persons
who shall hereafter be engaged in rebellion against the Gov-
ernment of the United States, or who shall in any way give
aid or comfort thereto, escaping from such persons and taking
refuge within the lines of the army ; and all slaves captured
from such persons or deserted by them and coming under the
control of the Government of the United States ; and all
slaves of such persons found on (or being within) any place
occupied by rebel forces and afterward occupied by the forces
of the United States, shall be deemed captures of war, and
shall be forever free of their servitude, and not again held as
SEC. 10. And be it further enacted, That no slave escaping
into any State, territory, or the district of Columbia, from
any of the States shall be delivered up, or in any way
impeded or hindered of his liberty, except for crime or some
offence against the laws, unless the person claiming said
fugitive shall first make oath that the person to whom the
labor or service of such fugitive is alleged to be due, is his
lawful owner, and has not been in arms against the United
States in the present rebellion, nor in any way given aid and
comfort thereto ; and no person engaged in the military or
naval service of the United States shall, under any pretence
whatever, arsume to decide on the validity of the claim of
any person to the service or labour of any other person, or
surrender up any such person to the claimant, on pain of
being dismissed from the service.
THE EMANCIPATION PKOCLAMATION.
By the President of the United States of America.
Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the
year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two,
a Proclamation was issued by the President of the United
States, containing among other things the following, to wit :
' ' That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord
one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held
as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the
people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United
States, shall be then, thenceforth and forever free, and the
Executive Government of the United States, including the
military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and
1 62 Recollections and Experiences
maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or
acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts
they make for their actual freedom.
"That the Executive will, on the first day of January
aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of
States, if any, in which the people thereof respectively shall
then be in rebellion against the United States, and the fact
that any State or the people thereof, shall on that day be in
good faith represented in the Congress of the United States
by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of
the qualified voters of such State shall have participated,
shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be
deemed conclusive evidence that such State and the people
thereof are not then in rebellion against the United States."
Now, therefore, I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the
United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Com-
mander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States
in time of actual armed Rebellion against the authority and
government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary
war measure for suppressing said Rebellion, do, on this first
day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight
hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose
so to do, publicly proclaim for the full period of one hundred
days from the day of the first above-mentioned order, and
designate, as the States and part of States wherein the people
thereof respectively are this day in rebellion against the
United States, the following, to wit : ARKANSAS, TEXAS,
LOUISIANA (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Palquemines,
Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, As-
sumption, Terre Bonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and
Orleans, including the City of Orleans), MISSISSIPPI, ALABAMA,
FLORIDA, GEORGIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, NORTH CAROLINA, and
VIRGINIA (except the forty-eight counties designated as West
Virginia, and also the counties of Berkeley, Acconac, North-
ampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk,
including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth), and which
excepted parts are, for the present, left precisely as if this
Proclamation had not been issued.
And by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid,
I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within
said designated States and parts of States are and hence-
forward SHALL BE FREE ! and that the Executive Government
Of an Abolitionist. 163
of the United states, including the Military and Naval author-
ities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said
And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free,
to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence,
and 1 recommend to them that in all cases, when allowed,
they labour faithfully for reasonable wages.
And I further declare and make known that such persons
of suitable condition will be received into the armed service
of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and
other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.
And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of
justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military neces-
sity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the
gracious favour of Almighty God.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my name, and
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this first day of
January, in the year of our Lord one thousand
[L. S.] eight hundred and sixty- three, and of the
Independence of the United States the eighty-
By the President. WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State.
THE REPUBLICAN PLATFORM OF 1864 (LINCOLN
The National Convention which assembled at Baltimore on
the 7th of June, 1864, and there nominated ABRAHAM LIN-
COLN for re-election* as President, with ANDREW JOHNSON as
Vice-President, adopted and presented to the American people
the following :
Resolved, That, as Slavery was the cause, and now consti-
tutes the strength, of this rebellion, and as it must be always
and everywhere hostile to the principles of Republican gov-
ernment, justice, and the national safety demand its utter and
164 Recollections and Experiences
complete extirpation from the soil of the Republic ; and that
we uphold and maintain the acts and proclamations by which
the Government, in its own defence, has aimed a death-blow
at this gigantic evil. We are in favour, furthermore, of such
an amendment to the Constitution, to be made by the people
in conformity with its provisions, as shall terminate and for
ever prohibit the existence of Slavery within the limits of the
jurisdiction of the United States.
PRESIDENT LINCOLN'S SECOND INAUGURAL
ADDRESS, MARCH 4, 1865.
FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN : At this second appearing to take
the oath of the Presidential office, there is less occasion for an
extended address than there was at the first. Then a state-
ment, somewhat in detail, of a course to be pursued seemed
very fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years,
during which public declarations have been constantly called
forth on every point and phase of the great contest which
still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the
nation, little that is new could be presented.
The progress of our amis, upon which all else chiefly
depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it
is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all.
With high hope for the future, no prediction with regard to
it is ventured.
On the occasion corresponding to this, four years ago, all
thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war.
All dreaded it ; all sought to avoid it. While the inaugural
address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether
to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in
the city seeking to destroy it without war seeking to dissolve
the Union and divide the effects by negotiation. Both parties
deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than
let the nation survive ; and the other would accept war rather
than let it perish, and the war came.
One-eighth of the whole population were coloured slaves,
not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the
Southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and
powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow
the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend
Of an Abolitionist. 165
this interest, was the object for which the insurgents would
rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed
no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlarge-
ment of it.
Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the
duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated
that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before
the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier
triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding.
Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God ; and
each invokes the aid against the other. It may seem strange
that any man should dare to ask a just God's assistance in
wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces ;
but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers
of both could not be answered. That of neither has been
answered fully. The Almighty has his own purposes. "Woe
unto the world because of offences, for it must needs be that
offences come ; but woe to that man by whom the offence
cometh. " If we shall suppose that American slavery is one
of these offences, which, in the providence of God, must needs
come, but which, having continued through His appointed
time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both
North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by
whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any depar-
ture from those divine attributes which the believers in a
living God always ascribe to him ? Fondly do we hope, fer-
vently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may soon
pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the
wealth piled by the bondman's two hundred and fifty years of
unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood
drawn with the lash, shall be paid with another drawn by the
sword ; as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must
be said, "The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous
With malice toward none, with charity to all, with firm-
ness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive
on to finish the work we are in ; to bind up the nation's
wounds ; to care for him who shall have borne the battle,
and for his widow and his orphans ; to do all which may
achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace among ourselves
and with all nations.
1 66 Recollections and Experiences
The following amendment to the Constitution
of the United States was ratified by vote of
the Legislative Branches of the United States
Government, February I, 1865 :
SEC. 1. Neither Slavery nor involuntary servitude, except
as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been
duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any
place subject during their jurisdiction.
SEC. 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by
EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS.
|HE following extracts from a few of the
letters received by me during the great
rebellion, are published with a view to
illustrate the varied hopes and fears that animated
leading Abolitionists during the contest between
freedom and slavery. Fac-similes of the auto-
graph signatures of the writers are given.
FROM HORACE GREELEY.
OFFICE OF THE TRIBUNE,
New York, May igth, 1863.
Since the outbreak of our terrible war, I have
made it a rule to be rarely or ever away from our
city for any distance. I should like very much
to meet you and Mr. Giddings at Gerrit Smith's
next week, but it is not possible for me. * * *
1 68 Recollections and Experiences
FROM SECRETARY SEWARD.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, June 4th, 1863.
I take this occasion to renew my thanks for
your solicitous attention to the interests of this
Government. * Your zeal
merits the highest praise.
Yours, very respectfully,
FROM JOSHUA R. GIDDINGS.
Montreal, October I3th, 1863.
* * * * * I fully agree with you,
my clear friend, that any act, command, or enact-
ment, violative of the eternal principles of right
and liberty are void ; that they have none of the
essence or elements of law ; that they are the
mere mandates of despots ; that it is not only
right for you to disregard such mandates, but it
Of an Abolitionist. 169
is your duty. There can be no law which in-
vades the rights of any innocent being to life,
liberty, and happiness. *
FROM GERRIT SMITH.
Peterboro', August 31, 1864.
* * I had strong fears from
the first that you would be baffled. We thank
you for your noble and benevolent purpose, and
accept the will for the deed. I believe the
Heavenly Father means that my country shall
live ; she has more to fear just now from North-
ern demagogues than from Southern rebels.
170 Recollections and Experiences
FROM WENDELL PHILLIPS.
Boston, September 4th, 1864.
Mr. Lincoln may, probably does, wish the
grand result, freedom to the negro but he is too
much a border statesman in his opinions. Hence
the negro is not to him a man in the full sense.
Hence he overrates the prejudices and comfort
of the slaveholders. Consequently, though he
desires the' result, he hesitates at the MEANS.
Public opinion has bayonetted him up to his
present position, and may yet save us through him,
or rather in spite of him ; but it is a very dangerous
risk to run. SETTLEMENT is a more dangerous
hour than war. Hence I oppose Lincoln's re-
election ; prominent republicans dread it. The
leading Senator of New England said lately,
" Lincoln's election would be destruction Mc-
Clellan's would be damnation ;" so the leaders
are making an effort to induce Lincoln to with-
draw, and unite all earnest men on a better can-
didate. If we effect that, we are safe ; if not,
there is great danger that McClellan will be
elected, then we should have to rely wholly upon
the people to prevent his doing the harm he
intends. I trust the people fully ; but dread
such a trial. The aim of all true men is either
to replace Lincoln, or to array such a force
Of an Abolitionist. 171
against him as will oblige him to surround him-
self with a Cabinet of different wood.
The task we have to do, is a very great one.
Davis made a rebellion : it was all he could do.
Lincoln, by tampering, delay, indecision, and
long tenderness for slavery, has made a Confed-
eracy united, proud, with friends and military
With great regard and many thanks for all
you have done for us,
FROM GERRIT SMITH.
Peterboro', October 2Oth, 1864.
I am glad to learn that your heart is set on
Lincoln's re-election. * * This nation
will live. It has given ample proof that it can
withstand both foreign and domestic foes ; both
Northern and Southern rebels. Yes, this nation
172 Recollections and Experiences
will live to see herself and the whole continent
free from oppressors not from slaveholders only,
but from Imperial despots also. As life is the
law of righteousness, so death is the law of
wickedness ; and the wickedness of the demo-
cratic party is Hearing that extreme limit, where
wickedness dies of itself. Be of good cheer
God is for us.
FROM CHARLES SUMNER.
January 3ist, 1865.
***** God bless your
patriotic labor in our behalf. You have done a
noble work, and deserve the thanks of every true
American. Accept my best wishes and believe
Of an Abolitionist. 173
FROM GERRIT SMITH.
Peterboro', March loth, 1865.
Many thanks for this excellent likeness of our
dear friend Giddings. I hope to meet him in
heaven. * * *
The end of the terrible rebellion is at hand.
I hope to hear this week of the capture of the
remainder of Lee's army, and of the taking of
Mobile. Heaven bless you for your active in-
terest in our cause.
FROM GEORGE B. LINCOLN.
Brooklyn, March nth, 1865.
I thank you for your very able pamphlet that
reached me yesterday. I am glad for your own
section, that there is at least one (and I trust
there are many) who will stand up for the liberty
cause amidst so many who seem to owe the free
people of the United States a grudge, and to
give it exemplification in striking hands with the
pirates and thieves who carry on the great rebel-
lion. In the coming time no more mortifying
174 Recollections and Experiences-
chapter will be written in Canadian history, than
the sad story of the aid and comfort given these
enemies of mankind by her people. But I trust
that the ancient philosophy will attain with you
that a few good men will save a city so shall
it be said, that for your fidelity and those who act
with you, the wrong done us by the great mass
of Canadian people, shall be forgotten. Slavery
and rebellion which are two names for one thing
nears its close. Thank God for the war ! Indeed,
I have scarcely seen human hands in all this great
struggle. His mighty arm has wielded the sword
of justice, and in the North, as well as in the
South, His wide swath can be tracked. The man
who thought he was rich in money made out of
southern trade, is to-day a Pauper. His children
are Beggars and the men who most of all, and
singularly enough,took sides with the slaveholders
in all political actions, were the Irish people, and
they from their necessities, were found early,
largely in the army. At least 50,000 of these
people have gone out from us to return no more
forever. A very great number are among us car-
rying an armless coat sleeve, or some other mark
of rebel work. I hope to meet you in Canada the
coming summer. Again, thanking you in behalf
of our liberty-loving people for your good wishes.
Yours very truly,
GEO. B. LINCOLN.
Of an Abolitionist. 175
FROM GOVERNOR FENTON.
EXECUTIVE DEPT., STATE OF NEW YORK.
Albany, April nth, 1865.
* I thank you in behalf
of the loyal people of this State, for your
patriotic services in our behalf. Your interest
in our cause, I assure you, is highly appreciated.
Again, thanking you,
I remain yours respectfully.
R. E. FENTON.
FROM WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON.
Boston, May 13, 1865.
* Your active and
sympathetic interest, in behalf of the freedmen
of our country, will do much to engender
kindly feelings between the United States and
Canada. * * * *
176 Recollections and Experiences
FROM JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER (THE
Amesburg, 27, 5th mo., 1865.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
It gives me great satisfaction to see
the friends of freedom in Canada and England
acting in behalf of the freedmen of the United
States. * * *
The tears which both nations are shedding
over the grave of our beloved President are
washing out all the bitter memories of miscon-
ception and estrangement between them. So
good comes of the evil.
Oh, Englishmen ! in hope and creed,
In blood and tongue our brothers ;
We too are heirs of Runymede,
And Shakespeare's fame and Cromwell's deed
Are not alone our mother's.
Thicker than water in one rill,
Through centuries of story;
Our Saxon blood has flow'd, and still
We share with you the good and ill,
The shadow and the glory.
Of an Abolitionist. 177
FROM WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
ROSLYN, LONG ISLAND,
June, 3rd, 1865.
* * I am glad to know the
cause of the United States has so strenuous a
defender in Canada. Your zealous and patriotic
labours merit the thanks of all who desire the
prosperity of this country.
FROM WENDELL PHILLIPS.
Boston, June I2th, 1865.
I will mail you, with this, my last two speeches
and evening talks on Lincoln's death, from which
you will get a fuller view of my present position
than I could give you in a note.
I will only add, that since those speeches, I
have become more and more anxious and doubt-
ful about the policy our President will pursue.
The Cabinet are about equally divided on the
question of negro suffrage. But we hope to
make an active use of the interval before the
next session of Congress, to manifest (I say
178 Recollections and Experiences
manifest, because it already exists,) such a deter-
mined public opinion as will awe the Govern-
ment into following that radical course in which
the masses are abundantly ready to support them.
Time will show what we can do. Politicians are
slippery reliance in war times as well as in peace.
Thank you for all your active and zealous
efforts in our behalf.
FROM GERRIT SMITH.
Peterboro', July 1st, 1865.
* * * Slavery has received its
death blow ; but it is by no means certain that
our nation will be saved or still united. We may
have first to pass through a war of races. I am
not satisfied with the course our goverment is
pursuing in the matter of " reconstruction." My
poor, guilty country cannot be saved so long as it
hates and persecutes the black man. Our nation
is lost, if the Freedmen are denied the ballot.
Of an Abolitionist.
FROM GENERAL GARIBALDI.
Brescia (Italy), September, 1865.
I rejoice with you over the
destruction of slavery in the American Republic.
* * * Cloisters and prisons are not His
work. God made liberty man made slavery.
FROM VICTOR HUGO.
August 13, 1865.
* * * * Freedom makes Light and
Life. Slavery makes deafness in the soul.
Accept, sir, the homage of my respect.
EFFORTS TO AROUSE SYMPATHY FOR THE
NORTH LETTERS AND PAMPHLETS.
|HE following letters and pamphlets I
had published and circulated extensively
throughout Canada, with a view to aid
the cause of the North, by arousing sympathy,
awakening humane and liberal sensibilities, and
drawing more enlightened attention to the objects
of the great struggle between freedom and slavery
in the United States.
I felt persuaded that once the Canadian peo-
ple were rightly informed as to the nature and
objects of the slaveholders, their sympathies
would be given to the North in her efforts to
crush the rebellion, and prevent the establishment
on this continent of a government
" With one great bloodstone for its mighty base."
Of an Abolitionist. 181
' ' THE PRESENT WAR IS SIMPLY A CONFLICT BETWEEN SLAVERY
AND FREEDOM." Hon. Charles Sumner.
THE SLAVEHOLDERS' REBELLION.
ITS INTERNAL CAUSES.
Every step in progress the world has made
since the advent of Christ, has been made from
the cross to the scaffold, and from stake to stake.
All the great truths relating to society and self-
government, have been first heard in the solemn
protests of dying martyrs and patriots, who have
yielded up their lives a sacrifice to obtain free-
dom and liberty for mankind.
The great contest now being waged in the
United States, is a struggle between a higher and
lower civilization a continuation of the struggle
between light, liberty, and freedom, and the
ruling powers of wickedness and tyranny, which
began at the advent of our Saviour, and has
been continued by his apostles, and by martyrs
and patriots from that time to the present day.
Never, since the revolt of Satan against the
government of Jehovah, has there been a rebel-
lion so utterly causeless and unjustifiable as the
Slaveholders' Rebellion. Actuated by the same
wicked ambition that moved Satan to rebel
1 82 Recollections and Experiences
against righteousness, peace, and justice in
heaven, the slaveholders are seeking to over-
throw the only really republican government on
earth, and to erect upon its ruins a despotism of
the vilest description the foundation of which is
to be human slavery ; and thus crush out forever
the refuge and hope of liberty-loving men of
every nation and people.
The rebellious slaveholders never furnished
any list of grievances, never cited any acts of
despotism on the part of the government against
which they rebelled. Their only excuse was,
that a party had come into power, the leaders of
which had some moral feeling in reference to
slavery. It could not be truthfully alleged that
Mr. Lincoln proposed to infringe upon their state
rights or peculiar privileges. No ; the actual
and only object was (in case they proved suc-
cessful in their appeal to arms), to found a slave
empire upon this continent, and extend the bane-
ful curse of slavery all over this land, from the
Atlantic to the Pacific, and repudiate the God-
given right to all men of life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness. They wish to establish a
government for the rich and powerful, that they
may the more firmly rivet the chains of bondage
and despotism upon the poor black people
of this continent.
Of an Abolitionist. 183
The slaveholders, and their supporters in the
North, had for fifty years controlled the govern-
ment of the United States, and used their
patronage and power to advance the interests of
slavery, and force compromise after compromise
from the northern people. During the past eight
years the Republican or anti-slavery party in
the Free States had gained strength rapidly.
Their principles were inimical to slavery, and
especially to its extension to the great territories
of the west. No attempt, however, was made or .
could be made constitutionally to interfere with
slavery in those States where it was legalized
by local enactments. Under the Federal Con-
stitution, every State has the right to make
such laws and enactments as will not conflict
with the Constitution of the United States-
The President has no power, in time of peace,
to interfere with the institutions of any State,
and there is clearly no such power in Congress.
But, for thirty years the slaveholders had been
seeking a pretext to rebel, and when the people
of the Free States nominated as their candidate
for the office of President, Abraham Lincoln,
they at once declared that in case he was elected,
they would never submit to the will of the ma-
jority, but would rebel and disrupt the nation,
and establish a Confederacy, the corner stone of
which should be human slavery.
184 Recollections and Experiences
For thirty years the gulf between the Free
and Slave States had grown wider and wider.
The conflict between freedom and slavery
had become fiercer and more bitter year after
year. The anti-slavery party, of which John
Quincy Adams, Joshua R. Giddings, Gerrit
Smith, and other noble advocates of freedom,
were the founders, had increased and become a
great, influential, and powerful party, spreading
its influence and principles throughout the coun-
try. For many years after the inception of this
party, its leaders and advocates were subjected
to the most persistent abuse and persecution at
the hands of slaveholders and their sympathisers
in the North. But the little cloud that appeared
no larger than a man's hand thirty years ago,
now overshadows the whole Union.
The triumphant election of Abraham Lincoln,
convinced the Southern despots that hereafter
the power and influence of the General Govern-
ment would be exerted to extend the blessings
of freedom and liberty, and establish for ever
the immortal principle that all men have "the
inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit
True to their wicked purpose, the slaveholders
precipitated the country into a bloody and cruel
Of an Abolitionist. 185
war, which has continued, with varied success,
for nearly four years. I believe that out of
this conflict will arise great good to mankind,
and that, when this conflict is ended, free-
dom will be universal throughout the great
American Republic. What a glorious future
awaits the United States, when slavery is for-
ever crushed, and the energies of her enlight-
ened millions shall be devoted to extending
the principles of freedom and self-government
over the continent of America, and in welcoming
the poor down- trodden masses of Europe!
The United States deserve the sympathy of
every Christian man and nation, because they
have espoused the cause of freedom, and are
contending for the rights of man. And although
the loss of life and suffering consequent upon
the great struggle is to be deplored, I feel con-
vinced it is all for the best ; for had the North
been successful in crushing the rebellion at an
earlier period we would not have attained that
result which every good man should desire
the abolition of human slavery.
With what gigantic strides the cause of
freedom has advanced since the war broke
out, and what glorious results have been
worked out ! At the outbreak of the rebellion,
1 86 Recollections and Experiences
there were four millions of human beings in
bondage in the Southern States, and the day of
deliverance seemed very remote. They were
held down by the most wicked, vile, and cruel
system of slavery ever devised ; and possessed
no right which a white man was bound to re-
How different their condition at present \
Hundreds of thousands are now enjoying the
blessings of freedom and liberty, and the whole
power and influence of the Northern States is
being exerted in their behalf. The constitutional
amendment abolishing slavery throughout the
Union has passed both the Senate and House
of Representatives, and will shortly be ratified
by the required number of States to make it
an accomplished fact. When that glorious deed
is done, what an enviable and proud position
will the United States occupy! Cleansed from
the foul blot of slavery, it will be a beacon-
light to every people and nation. Several of
the former Slaveholding States have already
emancipated their slaves, and commenced
a new and glorious career in the new nation of
Free States. Thus the good work of emancipa-
tion goes on, and will continue until freedom is
Of an Abolitionist. 187
THE RIGHTS OF MAN.
Our Almighty Father has given to all men
the right to live, the right to enjoy the light of
the sun, the right to breathe the vital air, to
unfold his moral nature, to learn the laws that
control his moral and physical being, to bring
himself into harmony with these laws, and to
enjoy that happiness which is consequent upon
such obedience ; and wherever a human soul
exists, that law applies. I mean by the term
soul that immortal principle in man which exists
hereafter ; and where such a soul exists there is
the right to live, to attain knowledge, the right
to sustain life, obey the laws of his Creator, and
enjoy heaven and happiness, and the poorest
slave on earth has this inalienable right ; and
whoever deprives him of that right outrages both
the laws of God and nature. In defiance of
these sacred laws, four millions of innocent
human beings have long been deprived of all
these rights and subjected to a cruel bondage by
the slaveholders of the South. Thank God, the
hour of their deliverance is at hand ; and how
severe the punishment now being meted out,
by a just God, to those wicked and misguided men
who sought to establish a government in violation
of God's most sacred laws !
May 1 6th, 1865.
1 88 Recollections and Experiences
IN Memory of JOSHUA R. GIDDINGS, who died
May 27th, 1864, at Montreal.
Mr. Giddings was one of the truest, most con-
sistent, and courageous advocates of freedom in
the Northern States. For thirty years he faith-
fully laboured, both in and out of Congress, to
bring about the abolition of slavery, and before
he was called away from earth he was per-
mitted to see the dawning of brighter and better
days for his country. Only one day prior to his
death he remarked to the writer, while convers-
ing upon national topics, " I have but one desire
to live longer, and that is, to see the complete
triumph of the cause to which I have given
the energies of my life." This noble and vener-
able patriot was one of the few statesmen in
the Northern States who felt the humiliation
of sharing the responsibility of slavery.
The writer was honoured with the confidence
and regard of Mr. Giddings, and was with him
much during the last weeks of his life. He
possessed a kind and genial nature, and when
conversing upon the glory that he believed
awaited his country, when every human being
whether black or white, should be in possession
of the God-given right of freedom and equality,
his countenance would glow with animation and
Of an Abolitionist. 189
Mr. Giddings was a thorough abolitionist in
principle. He did not, like many of the states-
men of the present day, stop merely at emanci-
pation, but demanded that every innocent man
was entitled not only to liberty and equality
before the law, but also to the right of suffrage.
Thirty years ago he bravely advocated the
cause of the poor down-trodden slave, when to
be called an abolitionist was considered a disgrace
and a dishonour ; neither threats of personal vio-
lence nor abuse could daunt the spirit of this
heroic and Christian man ; and, from his first
entrance into public life to the day of his decease,
he never allowed an opportunity to escape him of
advocating the cause of those in bondage. The
poor slave always had in him a warm defender and
true friend. His position on this great question,
classes him with Wilberforce and Clarkson, names
dear to humanity, who were the first in England
to speak for the enslaved race. He strove with
all his power to eradicate the foul blot of slavery
from his native land ; and, before he took his
departure for his heavenly home, he was permit-
ted to catch a glimpse of the bright future in
store for his country.
Few names will rank above his when the long
conflict with slavery is ended, and justice done
to those who fought for the right.
190 Recollections and Experiences
' ' Angelic peace ! stay not long,
But sit beside the patriot's tomb,
And sing an everlasting song,
Of Freedom's triumph, Slavery's doom ;
Unite the several links again,
The golden links of every State,
That men may tell their fellow men.
Columbia stands, free, blest, and great. '
SLAVERY IN THE SOUTHERN STATES.
Human slavery has been denounced by all the
great and good men of the Christian world, as a
" relic of barbarism." The fathers of the Amer-
ican Republic, pronounced it an outrage, and
deplored its existence ; and the Bible also rises
up in judgment against this iniquitous institu-
Notwithstanding all this array of evidence
against human slavery, the bold attempt has re-
cently been made in this city, Toronto, by a pro-
slavery clergyman, to inculcate the falsehood that
human slavery was devised by our Heavenly
Father, and is, consequently, in perfect accord-
ance with His Almighty designs.
To the humane and enlightened among us, it
may appear a work of supererogation to publicly
Of an Abolitionist. 191
protest against this absurd pretension ; but I
deem it my duty, as an anti-slavery man, and in
presenting my protest, I shall avail myself of
the opportunity afforded me, of recording the
testimony of Washington, Jefferson, Madison,
Monroe, Patrick Henry, and John Randolph,
all residents of Virginia, and the most illustrious
men of their day ; and thus show those in
Canada who sympathize with the slaveholders'
rebellion, the hideous serpent they are helping
to warm into life ; for the Vice-President of the
rebellious States, has declared that " Slavery is
the chief Corner-stone of the Confederate Govern-
Is it possible, after reading the opinions of the
great and good men above quoted, and the testi-
mony of the Bible, that any man, professing to
be a follower and believer in the meek and lowly
Jesus, can give his sympathies or countenance to
such a heaven-defying scheme ? Is it possible
that any liberty-loving Briton can countenance
the establishment of a government with such a
foundation, after reading the declaration of
Brougham and Wesley upon the vile and wicked
institution of slavery ? These great men knew
whereof they affirmed : they were familiar with
the laws of the Slave States, which are alone
sufficient to inspire horror in every human heart
or reflecting mind.
192 Recollections and Experiences
GEORGE WASHINGTON says : " There is not a
man living who wishes more sincerely than I do
to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery."
George Washington, April I2th, 1786. "The
scheme, my dear Marquis, which you propose as
a precedent to encourage the emancipation of
the black people in this country, from the state
of bondage in which they are held, is a striking
evidence of the benevolence of your heart."
Washington to Layfctte, 1783.
" It is the most earnest wish of America to see
an entire stop put to the ^wicked and cruel trade
in slaves." Meeting at Fairfax, Va., presided
over by Washington, July 18, 1784.
THOMAS JEFFERSON says, in his " Notes on
Slavery in Virginia :" " I tremble for my coun-
try, when I reflect that God is just. His just-
ness cannot sleep for ever."
JAMES MADISON says: "We have seen the
mere distinction of colour, made in the most en-
lightened period of time, a ground of the most
oppresssive dominion ever exercised by man over
JAMES MONROE says : " We have found that
this evil has preyed upon the very vitals of the
Union, and has been prejudicial to all the States
in which it has existed."
Of an Abolitionist. 193
JOHN RANDOLPH, of Roanoke, says, "I envy
neither the head nor the heart of that man who
defends slavery upon principle."
THOMAS JEFFERSON says: " One day of Ameri-
can slavery is worse than a thousand years of that
which the American colonists arose in arms to
oppose." Alluding to slave insurrections, he
said : " The Almighty has no attribute that can
take sides with us, in a contest with our slaves."
PATRICK HENRY says : " Slavery is detestable.
We feel its fatal effects. We deplore it with all
the pity of humanity T
Surely here is evidence sufficient to convince
any but the most prejudiced, of the iniquity of
slavery as it exists in the South. The great men
above quoted, were residents of Virginia, and
the founders of the Republic.
LORD BROUGHAM says : " Tell me not of
rights. Talk not of the property of the planter
in his slaves. I deny the rights I acknowledge
not the property. The principles the feelings
of our common nature rise in rebellion against
it. Be the appeal made to the understanding or
to the heart, the sentence is the same that rejects
it. In vain you may tell me of laws that sanc-
Recollections and Experiences
tion such a claim. There is a law above all the
enactments of human codes : it is the law writ-
ten by the finger of God upon the heart of man,
and by that law, unchangeable and eternal, while
men despise fraud, and loathe rapine and abhor
blood, they shall reject with indignation the wild
and guilty fantasy that man can hold property
JOHN WESLEY declares, " slavery to be the
sum of all villainies."
Miss SARAH M. GRIMKE, daughter of the late
Judge Grimke, of the Supreme Court of South
Carolina, testifies as follows : " As I left my na-
tive land on account of slavery, and deserted the
home of my father to escape the sound, of the
lash and the shrieks of tortured victims, I would
gladly bury in oblivion the recollection of those
scenes with which I have been familiar. But
that cannot be, they come over my memory like
goary spectres, and implore me with resistless
force, in the name of a God of mercy, in the
name of a crucified Saviour, for the sake of the
poor slave, to bear witness to the horrors of the
Among the horrible barbarities she enumer-
ates, is the case of a young girl, thirteen years
Of an Abolitionist. 195
old, who was flogged to death by her master.
She says : " I asked a prominent lawyer who
belonged to one of the first families in the State,
whether the murderer of this helpless child could
not be indicted ? and he cooly replied, " the slave
was Mr. 's property, and if he chose to suffer
the loss, no one else had anything to do with it."
She proceeds to say : " I felt there could be no
rest for me in the midst of such outrages and
THE BIBLE says :
" Remember them that are in bonds, as bound
with them." Heb. xiii. 3.
" Hide the outcasts. Betray not him that
wandereth. Let my outcasts dwell with thee.
Be thou a covert to them from the face of the
spoiler." Isa. xvi. 3, 4.
" Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the
servant which has escaped from his master unto
thee. He shall dwell with thee. Thou shalt not
oppress him." Deut. xxiii. 15, 16.
"Whatsoever ye would that men should do
to you, do ye even so to them." Matt. vii. 12.
" Is not this the fast I have chosen to loose the
bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens
196 Recollections and Experiences
and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye
break every yoke ?" Isa. Iviii. 6.
" They have given a boy for an harlot, and
sold a girl for wine, that they may drink." Joel
" He that oppresseth the poor, reproacheth his
Maker." Prov. xiv. 31.
" Rob not the poor because he is poor ; neither
oppress the oppressed. For the Lord will plead
their cause, and spoil the soul of them that spoil
them." Prov. xxii. 22, 23.
" Masters give unto your servants that which
is just and equal ; knowing that ye also have a
Master in heaven." Col. iv. i.
" Neither be ye called masters, for one is your
Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren."
Matt, xxiii. 8, 9.
"Woe unto him that useth his neighbour's
service without wages, and giveth him not for his
work." Jer. xxii. 13.
" Behold, the hire of your labourers who have
reaped down your fields, which is of you kept
back by fraud, crieth ; and the cries of them
which have reaped are entered into the ears of
the Lord of Sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure
on the earth, and been wanton : ye have nour-
Of an Abolitionist. 197
ished your hearts as in a day of slaughter."-
Jas. v. 4, 5.
The above quotations, from both the Old and
New Testaments, prove conclusively that the pre-
sumptuous assertion, that " slavery is sanctioned
by the Bible," has no foundation in fact. The
human heart, reason, religion, and, above all, the
Bible, rise up in judgment against it.
The universal law in the Slave States is, that
"the child follows the condition of the mother."
This is an index to many things. Marriage be-
tween white and coloured people, is forbidden
by law ; yet a very large number of the slaves
are brown or yellow. How could this be, unless
their fathers or grandfathers had been white
men ? But as their mothers were slaves, slave
laws pronounce them slaves also, subject to be
sold on the auction block, whenever the necessi-
ties or convenience of their masters and mis-
tresses require it, The sale of one's own children
has an ugly aspect to those unaccustomed to it.
Throughout the Slave States, no coloured
person's testimony can be taken against a white
man. Any drunken master or overseer may go
into the negro cabin, and commit any outrage
he pleases with perfect impunity, if no white
person is present who will witness against him.
198 Recollections and Experiences
Slave laws declare that "a slave is a chattel
to all intents and purposes whatsoever." This
involves the right to sell his wife and children*
as if they were cattle. There are large numbers
of fugitives from slavery in Canada, with many
of whom I have conversed. I have seen the
scars of the whip and branding iron, and have
listened to their heart-broken sobs as they told
of their wives and children torn from their arms
to be sold.
Viewing slavery in the light of the above tes-
timony, is there a Christian man in Canada who
does not feel it an outrage upon his feelings to
have it boldly and plausibly asserted that the
Bible upholds such a heaven-defying pretension,
that tramples upon the most sacred relations^
making wife and child the wretched prey of lust
and avarice ?
* "0 execrable son ! so to aspire
Above his brethren, to himself assuming
Authority usurped, from God not given !
He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl,
Dominion absolute ; that right we hold
By His donation ; but man over men
He made not Lord, such title to Himself
Reserving, human left from human free."
Milton's Paradise Lost, Bk. XII. 64, 73.
February 3, 1865.
Of an Abolitionist. 199
REMARKS AT THE ANNUAL MEETING OF
THE "SOCIETY FOR THE ABOLITION OF
HUMAN SLAVERY," HELD IN MONTREAL,
OCTOBER 2isT, 1863.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, My views upon
the subject of slavery are by many considered
ultra ; but I have been an eye-witness to the
cruelty, injustice, and barbarity of that vile and
atrocious institution, and know whereof I speak.
In October, 1859, while on a visit to Rich-
mond, Virginia, I was forcibly reminded of the
truth of the saying, " The wicked fleeth when no
man pursueth." I found the population of that
city in a condition of great excitement ; a feeling
of dread and insecurity prevailed which extended
to every part of the State. You will naturally
ask the cause of this excitement, this feeling of
insecurity and dread. The people of Virginia
were at that time living under the protection of
a government intensely pro-slavery ; they were
in the enjoyment of all their State rights : the
cause of this dread and insecurity in the minds
of slaveholders was produced by the sudden
darting of a ray of light from Harper's Ferry,
a ray of light that penetrated the pending gloom
and ignorance which hung like a cloud over the
darkened minds of 4,000,000 enslaved human
2OO Recollections and Experiences
beings. John Brown had stricken a blow on
the confines of slavery, the echoes of which
resounded on every plantation, and entered the
humble cabin of the poor slave as well as the
mansion of the proud and haughty slaveholder,
and roused the long-deferred hope in the bosom
of millions of poor, downtrodden, and long-
suffering slaves that the hour of their deliver-
ance from a cruel tyranny was .at hand ; and
prayers ascended from a thousand rude cabins
to the Almighty Father for freedom, justice, and
liberty. Is it a matter of surprise that a feeling
of dread and insecurity was felt in the mansion
of the proud and haughty master, when a million
earnest prayers were going up to the throne of
God for justice and freedom ?
It is not unusual to hear the tales of cruelty
and oppression toward this unfortunate people
spoken of as a fiction ; and that interesting work
of Mrs. Stowe (Uncle Tom's Cabin) has been
declared by slaveholders and Northern sympa-
thisers with slavery, as entirely imaginary and
unworthy of belief.
Mr. President, I have read that and other
kindred works upon the institution of slavery,
and assure you I have witnessed scenes of
oppression, cruelty, and brutality towards that
Of an Abolitionist. 201
inoffensive people in the Slave States, far exceed-
ing anything described in works of the kind
Slavery is demoralizing in its tendencies to
the white as well as to the black, to the master
as well as to the slave. Where it exists, it
brutalizes and renders the white domineering,
despotic and brutal. The black race is kept in
a condition of the grossest ignorance, and the
circulation of knowledge is guarded with a
jealous eye, with a view to prevent the slave
from gaining information. The discussion of
subjects which would be likely to reach the
darkened but alert mind of the coloured people,
is sternly prohibited. For fifty years past, the
Government of the United States has been under
the control of Southern men, and they have
persistently endeavoured to extend their domi-
neering tyranny over the entire North ; and
until within the past twenty-five years, there
were few prominent men in the North with
sufficient moral courage to face the proud and
overbearing dictation of the slave lords in the
Senate and Congress. The venerable John
Quincy Adams, and that noble veteran and
apostle of freedom, the late Joshua R. Giddings
took a firm and decided stand twenty-five years
ago for freedom, and bravely asserted that all
2O2 Recollections and Experiences
men, black and white, had the " inalienable right
to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness ;"
and for many years these two noble men with-
stood a united Senate and House of Congress,
and the cowardly and assassinlike threats and
abuse of the slave-drivers of the South. The
lamp lighted by Garrison, Adams, and Giddings,
continued to burn with increased brilliancy year
after year, and in many of the free States
societies were formed to promote the abolition
of Slavery by the dissemination of information
throughout the North, describing the actual con-
dition of the poor downtrodden slaves and to
awaken an interest in behalf of that oppressed
people. The leaders in this movement had to
withstand the most vindictive persecution at
the hands of Southern men and their sympa-
thisers in the North. Prominent upon the roll
of men \vho have rendered their names immortal
by the advocacy of the rights of man may be
mentioned the names of John Quincy Adams,
Joshua R. Giddings, William Lloyd Garrison,
Wendell Phillips, Gerritt Smith, Horace Greeley,
Charles Su inner, and other noble men and
women who have laboured with great zeal
and sacrifice to bring about the abolition of
human slavery in the United States. The
slaveholders used every influence in their power
to prevent discussions upon the subject of
Of an Abolitionist. 203
slavery, and when they failed to meet the argu-
ments of the anti-slavery men, they assumed the
domineering and despotic attitude of the slave-
driver, and attempted, by acts of cowardly
brutality, to stifle discussion with the bowie-
knife, pistol, and bludgeon. The late Mr. Gid-
dings, when a member of Congress, and while
addressing the House upon the rights of man,
was threatened with instant death if he uttered
another word upon the subject; but the brave
old statesman well knew the cowardly character
of slaveholders, and continued his address in
defiance of the cowardly threat. And more
recently the Hon. Charles Sumner was attacked
while seated at his desk in the Senate Chamber,
and nearly assassinated by a Southern member
of Congress, while another Southerner stood over
the victim of this brutal outrage with a cocked
pistol, to prevent the bystanders from rendering
aid to Mr. Sumner while his Southern confrere,
with murderous intent, brutally assaulted an
unarmed man. This outrage upon Mr. Sumner
was committed because his arguments, proving
the " Barbarism of Slavery," were unanswerable.
In this manner the South has endeavoured to
control the nation and extend and perpetuate
the blighting curse of slavery. And when the
slaveholders found they could no longer brow-
beat and force the liberty-loving people of the
2O4 Recollections and Experiences
North into acquiescence with their barbarous
designs, they rebelled, and are now endeavoring
to establish a government with slavery for its chief
corner-stone. An eminent English statesman has
asserted, in reference to the war in the United
States, that " the North is fighting for empire,
and the South for independence." This is a
fallacy the great struggle now being waged in
the United States, is a continuance of the con-
test between freedom and slavery, that began
thirty-five years ago in Congress ; and, thank
God, the indications are, that slavery will go
down beneath the blows of the freemen of the
It is unnecessary for me to occupy your
attention any longer to convince you of the
barbarity and demoralizing influence of slavery.
Most of you have doubtless seen the pho-
tographs of the slave children from New
Orleans ; the mother of these two inno-
cent children was a slave, and the children
of a slave mother follow her condition, and
these innocent children, as white as any child
in Montreal, were destined for the slave market.
This is not by any means an isolated case,
but of frequent and daily occurrence in the
Slave States. What do you think of a father
selling his own child, and that child a pure
Of an Abolitionist. 205
innocent girl, as white, if not whiter than
himself, and for the basest, vilest, and most
loathsome purpose imaginable ? Thank God
for the war ; may it continue until we no longer
hear the sighs and groans of an oppressed
and cruelly outraged people ! I believe the
great principle of human freedom involved in
this contest will ultimately triumph ; it may be
the purpose of a just God to punish still more
the people of the North, because of their com-
plicity with the South in binding the chains of
slavery upon the coloured people. But out of this
great contest will arise the august form of Liberty
demanding that all men black and white shall
have an equal right to " Life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness."
It is the custom in this country, and in
England, to find fault with the President of the
United States, because he has not done more
towards liberating the slaves, and especially,
because he failed to declare every slave in the
Union free, when he issued the emancipation
proclamation. I believe Mr. Lincoln has done
all he could do constitutionally toward emanci-
pation, and has kept pace with the public opinion
of the country ; he may appear slow and over-
cautious at times, but he has done what he has,
after grave deliberation and much thought and
206 Recollections and Experiences
anxiety. In issuing his emancipation proclama-
tion, he acted in his capacity of Commander-in-
Chief of the Army of the United States ; he had
no power to interfere with the local institutions
of a State like Kentucky, not in actual rebellion.
I find from public documents that over one
million of slaves have been liberated, during
the past two years, and the good work goes
bravely on. President Lincoln, in my estima-
tion, merits the approbation and prayers of
every Christian man, for his efforts to crush
slavery ; and that God will help him and sustain
him, should be the earnest prayer of every true
lover of freedom.
The question of Reconstruction, which at
present is deeply agitating the public mind in
the United States, is one which almost equally
concerns all mankind as much as the American
people. That the fruits of the great conquest
won by the North may not be entirely lost, is a
wish that is shared alike by the people of every
Of an Abolitionist. 207
The policy of Reconstruction, now being pur-
sued by President Johnson, is fraught with much
danger to the permanent peace and welfare of
the United States, and to the progress of Liberal
principles throughout the world. The President's
system of appointing, as Provisional Governors
of the rebel States, men who have just returned
from the ranks of the rebel army, and the indis-
criminate pardoning and restoring to political
rights of men who were prominent in their efforts,
to destroy the Government the placing into
political power of men who, by their infamous
treachery, forfeited everything, even their lives,
will, it is believed, work great and lasting injury
to the cause of freedom in the Southern States.
Mr. Johnson maintains that the rebel acts of
secession were null and void that the rebel
States have never been out of the Union that
the Federal authority was only temporarily
obstructed by insurrection that all acts done
and laws enacted by rebel authority were illegal
assumptions of power, and that all the people of
the lately rebel States are required to do, to
enable them to assume the rights and privileges
they forfeited by their participation in rebellion,
is to obtain pardon and take the oath of fidelity
to the Federal Government, which they have,
for four years been endeavouring to destroy ;.
208 Recollections and Experiences
and having conformed to the above require-
ments, they (the rebels) are to be reinstated to
all the rights, civil and political, of loyal citizens.
This is the policy adopted by the President^
and which, if persisted in, will deprive the loyal
people of the Union of the fruits of the great
victories they have nobly won by the sacrifice of
so much life and treasure.
The most recent information from the South
conveys the surprising intelligence that Presi-
dent Johnson has authorized the Provisional
Governors of Mississippi and South Carolina to
arm and organize a company of militia in each
county of these States ; and as the whole white
population of both these States were rebels,
without exception, the militia, of course, will be
rebels, and zealous in their efforts to keep the
nominally free coloured people in abject submis-
sion to the wishes of their pro-slavery rulers.
After this concession to unrepentant rebels, it
would not be at all surprising to hear that the
National troops were to be removed from those
States, where their presence is the only security
the freedmen have from outrage and tyranny.
The troops once withdrawn from the rebel States,
a system of persecution and tyranny will be
organized against the coloured people. Once the
war power is laid down and State Governments
Of an Abolitionist. 209
inaugurated, what is to prevent the Southern
whites from enacting laws by which the freed-
men will have as little protection for life, liberty,
and property as little control of their own ac-
tions In fact, from making them slaves in all
but the name ? To bring about this condition it
will not even be necessary to enact new laws ;
the brutal slave-codes of the rebel States will
answer every purpose. Under these codes no
coloured person's testimony can be taken against
a white person. PLven were these codes abro-
gated, nothing more would be needed than the
prejudice that exists in the courts of justice in
the South. If the Southern States are allowed
to reorganize and assume their former position
in the Union, without granting the negro suf-
frage and perfect equality before the law, the
poor black man will be left to the tender mercies
of the slaveholders, who will take a fiendish
pleasure in wreaking vengeance upon him for
his fidelity and loyalty to the Government.
And to this condition is the policy of Mr.
The white population of the Slave States have
been corrupted by vicious institutions, which
have rendered them totally unfit to participate
in the reconstruction of the Southern States on
a basis of freedom and equality ; and if the
2IO Recollections and Experiences
power of legislation is given to this class alone,
the natural consequence will be, that the
coloured people, who are the only loyal people
in the South, will be deprived of the little
freedom which they now enjoy, and remanded
back into slavery. The votes of the loyal black-
men are absolutely required to neutralize the
votes of black-hearted white men. The Govern-
ment should demand that the intelligent coloured
man should have an equal voice in the recon-
struction of the Southern States. Before these
States should be permitted to have a share in the
Government, they should be required to give a
guarantee to freedom, and that guarantee should
be the immediate levelling of every obstruction
they have placed in the path of the negro by
unjust and cruel enactments, and the extension
of the right of suffrage and complete equality
before the law. This should be made the un-
alterable condition upon which alone they can be
permitted to regain their forfeited position.
Unless that condition is established and acted
upon, the Northern people stand a fair chance of
losing the fruits of their great conquest, and the
coloured people will be left to the cruel and vin-
dictive passions of their former masters ; and the
extent to which their cruelty and cowardly bru-
tality can extend, may be seen in the records of
the horrid prison pen at Andersonville, Georgia,
Of an A bolitionist. 2 1 1
where 30,000 Union prisoners were systematically
starved to death.
How long the patient and docile negro will
bear the wrongs and injustice heaped upon him,
we cannot tell ; but there is a limit to human
patience, and the cruelties practised upon this
innocent and long-suffering people, may yet
result in a disastrous war of races.
October 1st, 1865.
RECONSTRUCTION OF THE SOUTHERN STATES.
(JULY 25, 1865.)
To a nation there can be no greater danger
than the existence of a flagrant injustice in its
midst, protected and sanctioned by those in
When the American people began their na-
tional career, they made this declaration : " We
hold these truths to be self-evident that all men
are created equal ; and that they are endowed
by their Creator with certain inalienable rights ;
that among these are life, liberty, and the pur-
212 Recollections and Experiences
suit of happiness. That, to secure these rights,
Governments are instituted among men, deriving
their just powers from the consent of the govern-
ed." These great principles were solemnly enun-
ciated by the founders of the Republic, and they
appealed to the Supreme Judge of the world for
the rectitude of their intentions ; and, notwith-
standing this solemn affirmation, the nation has
proved recreant to these principles. No wonder
that Thomas Jefferson declared, in view of the
national apostacy, "that he trembled for his
country when he remembered that God was just,
and that His justice could not sleep forever."
Without repenting for the long oppression of the
coloured race, and without evincing the least grati-
tude toward the negro for his aid and assistance
in overthrowing the enemies of freedom, they
basely determine to leave the coloured people in
the power of their cruel oppressors. Could there
be greater baseness ? Could there be blacker
The President of the United States, in his
proclamation appointing a Provisional Governor
for Mississippi, announces that none are to be
allowed to vote for members of the Convention
(called to restore the State to the Union) but
those who were qualified as voters in 1861 ; thus
summarily depriving the loyal blacks of all voice
Of an A bolitionist. 2 1 3
in the reconstruction of the South, and placing
the power directly into the hands of rebels yet
red with the blood of Union men.
If the terrible scenes through which the Amer-
ican nation has passed during the last four years
has not been sufficient to teach it its solemn duty
to the oppressed people of the South, it may yet
have to pass through a more fiery ordeal a war
of races. Well might Jefferson exclaim, in view
of such an event, " The Almighty has no attri-
bute that will not take sides with the oppressed
against the oppressor." In the midst of their
rejoicings over the collapse of the rebellion, the
American people should not forget to deal justly
with the coloured race. They need not expect the
favour of Heaven, or a true and permanent peace
until they level every obstruction, and give the
freedman the right of suffrage, and place him in
a position to freely enjoy those inalienable rights
which the founders of the nation declared to be
" self-evident truths." The logic of American in-
stitutions and the principles of the men who
achieved their independence and framed those
institutions should impel the American Govern-
ment to this course, which is demanded alike by
justice, humanity, and expediency. But if the
inalienable rights of four millions of men are
wickedly and unjustly ignored, their appeals for
justice will not go forth in vain.
214 Recollections and Experiences
AMERICAN POLITICS, (MARCH 2, 1865).
While on a recent visit to the United States,
I had many opportunities of conversing with
intelligent Americans upon the all-absorbing
question of Reconstruction, now the chief topic
of conversation in the United States.
The conflict existing between the President
and Congress, and the results that may arise
from a continuance of that conflict, give much
anxiety to loyal Americans. From the tone of
the President's remarks and public speeches,
soon after his accession to the Presidency, the
loyal and liberty-loving people of the Union
were led to believe that the President was in
favour of re-establishing the foundation of the
country upon the just and enduring basis of
equal rights to all ; but it soon became apparent
that the President had a policy which was none
other than the restoration of Southern rebels to
all the rights they had forfeited by their wicked
attempt to destroy the country.
The object the President has in view is quite
evident : he desires to be re-elected, and, to
carry his point, he has resorted to the tricks and
wiles of a political demagogue. To aid him in
Of an A bolitionist. 2 1 5
his efforts, he has formed an aliance with men
whose hands are red with the blood of the
murdered Lincoln ; and to propitiate men who,
for four years, have been engaged in murdering
and starving Union men, he has hastened to
pardon and restore to impenitent rebels all the
rights of citizenship, without asking security for
the future, or without demanding equal rights
for loyal men in the South.
During the last Session of Congress it became
manifest that the President was determined to
force his policy upon the country ; but Congress
took a noble stand in opposition to the recreant
President, and have maintained their position
The American people will certainly support
Congress in opposition to the President and his
demagogic henchmen Seward and Weed. The
great majority of intelligent Americans are
decidedly more radical in their views than Con-
gress ; consequently there need be no fear or
anxiety as to the issue of the present conflict
between the political parties in the United States.
The great Republican party will be fully sup-
ported by the people in the elections now being
held for Congressmen. It is true that some
weak-kneed Republicans have gone over to the
216 Recollections and Experiences
President ; but it is equally true that they are
men of little influence, and that little they have
lost by their treason.
The President has already commenced the
wholesale removal from office of men appointed
by Mr. Lincoln, and is filling their places with his
time-serving friends and favorites of the Copper-
head species. As Mr. Johnson is a man of
violent passions, strong will, and very unscrupu-
lous, the question naturally arises, what will he
do, in case he is defeated at the present elections ?
One of his favorites, Montgomery Blair, declares
the President's determination to be the inaugu-
ration of another civil war, if the loyal people
return a Congress opposed to his policy. If that
is the President's determination, and he attempts
to carry it out, he will speedily meet the punish-
ment he merits.
THE BLACKS IN CANADA THE LAWS THE
NEGRO FITTED TO ENJOY LIBERTY.
Letter to "New York Tribune," July 10, 1865.
There is a resident population of between
40,000 and 50,000 colored people in Canada, of
which a large proportion were once held in cruel
Of an Abolitionist. 217
vassalage in the Southern States, and, after en-
during innumerable perils, found a refuge in this
Province from the wrongs and outrages heaped
upon them by their wicked task-masters.
The laws of Canada make no distinction as to
colour. The negro is placed upon equality with
the emigrants from other countries, entitled to all
the privileges, and eligible to office ; and, not-
withstanding they have had to encounter many
obstacles in a climate very different from that to
which they have been accustomed, their pros-
perity equals that of any other people in our
midst. They fully appreciate the benefits of
education ; they are quiet, docile, industrious
citizens many of them have become wealthy,
and some have attained to high positions in the
There is very much foolish talk in the United
States about " protecting the negro," and " fitting
him to enjoy the blessings of liberty." From
my experience of the colored people of Canada
(and I have enjoyed unusual advantages that
have enabled me to become familiar with their
condition and properties), I believe them quite
as capable of appreciating their freedom, and
much more deserving of it, than thousands of
white voters in the City of New York. The negro
218 Recollections and Experiences
needs no protection no preparatory course of
training. What he does need is to be placed in
a position to freely enjoy those "inalienable
rights," which the founders of your institutions
declared to be " self-evident truths." It is your
duty to level every obstruction that you have
placed in their path, in the way of unjust and
cruel enactments, and, having done that, let them
alone to manage their own affairs in their own
The logic of your institutions, and the prin-
ciples of the great men who framed those insti-
tutions, should impel you to this course, which is
demanded alike by justice, humanity, and expe-
diency. But, if you continue to wickedly ignore
the rights of the coloured people, you may yet
have to pass through the fiery ordeal of a war of
POSITION OF THE FREEDMEN IN THE SOUTH.
(JULY 5, 1865).
The basis upon which the seceding States are
allowed to return to the Union is being very
warmly discussed in the United States ; and the
process of reconstruction is watched with the
Of an Abolitionist. 219
deepest interest by Christian men throughout
Anti-slavery and radical men demand that
the freedmen of the South shall have the right
of suffrage and complete equality before the
laws, and maintain that the President has the
constitutional power to guarantee these rights
to the loyal coloured people of the States lately
On the other hand, there is a large and
influential party in the Union who maintain
opposite views, and insist that the question of
suffrage and equality shall be left to the control
of the white people of the States interested.
The Proclamation of Emancipation gave the
negro parchment liberty, and the Constitu-
tional amendment only secures that a man shall
not be bought and sold, and shall have the right
to walk in peace nothing else. They have no
other right that a white man is bound to
respect ; they cannot own land ; they cannot
testify in a court of justice. If a white man
enters the house of a coloured man, and out-
rages his wife or daughter, he cannot go before
the tribunals and claim justice. They cannot
vote where the great questions that effect
22O Recollections and Experiences
their destiny, their labour and property, are
And, if the question of suffrage and equality
*s to be left to the white men of Texas,
Alabama, and Mississippi, beyond the reach of
Northern influence, and outside the shelter of
Northern law, the poor negro will, in all proba-
bility, remain the tool and victim of their former
masters for many years.
I contend that the American people and
Government are bound, by a solemn obligation
of honour, to give the freedmen complete
equality before the law, and the right of
suffrage. In the hour of their direst necessity
they called upon the negro for help, and tens of
thousands of brave coloured men sprang to the
rescue ; and, by the aid they gave, the North
succeeded in crushing the Slaveholders' Rebellion.
Thousands of these negroes have shed their
blood upon the battle field to maintain the
integrity of the Union, and now, to remand
them to the tender mercies of their former cruel
masters, is worse than injustice it is base
Of an Abolitionist. 221
WHY I DESIRE THE SUCCESS OF THE NORTH.
(APRIL 5, 1865.)
I am frequently asked why I, a Canadian, so
warmly sympathize with the Northern States in
their efforts to crush the Slaveholders' Rebellion.
I reply : I desire the success of the North,
because the Northern people are struggling to
maintain the integrity of the Union, and prevent
the building up of a slave empire on this continent.
I desire the success of the North, because it
has espoused the cause of the poor down-trodden
slaves of the South.
I desire the success of the North, because I
believe the preservation of the Union to be es-
sential to the progress of liberty throughout the
I desire the success of the North, because the
ultimate release from bondage of four millions of
slaves depends upon the overthrow of the Slave-
If any further justification of my career were
necessary, I might cite the attitude of Liberals
222 Recollections and Experiences
all over the world. The Liberals among the
public men of England, France, Italy, and Ger-
many are in favor of the North. Cobden, Bright,
and Mill, in England ; and, in Italy, Mazzini and
Garibaldi, who will be known throughout all
coming ages as the liberators of Italy, and the
champions of universal freedom, are in favor of
Finally, I am persuaded that however much
my objects and motives may be slandered and
impugned, that history will vindicate the course
I have pursued and the position I have main-
tained since the outbreak of the Slaveholders'
RATIFICATION OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL
AMENDMENT AND PROCLAMATION OF
On the 1 8th of December, 1865, Secretary
Seward officially announced to the world the glad
tidings that the Constitutional Amendment abol-
ishing slavery and involuntary servitude through-
out the United States, or any place subject to
their jurisdiction, as follows :
Of an Abolitionist. 223
To all to whom these presents may come, Greeiuxj :
Know ye, That, whereas the Congress of the United States,
on the 1st of February last, passed a resolution, which is in
the words following, namely :
" A resolution submitting to the Legislatures of the several
States a proposition to amend the Constitution of the United
" Resolved, By the Senate and House of Representatives of
the United States of America in Congress assembled, two-
thirds of both Houses concurring that the following article be
proposed to the Legislatures of the several States as an
Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which,
when ratified by three-fourths of said Legislatures, shall be
valid to all intents and purposes as a part of said Constitution,
" 'Article XIII.
" 'SECTION 1. Neither Slavery nor involuntary servitude,
except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall
have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States,
or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
" 'SECTION 2. Congress shal-1 have power to enforce this
article by appropriate legislation.' "
And whereas, It appears from official documents on file in
this Department, that the Amendment to the Constitution of
the United States proposed as aforesaid, has been ratified by
the Legislatures of the States of Illinois, Rhode Island,
Michigan, Maryland, New York, West Virginia, Maine, Kan-
sas, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, Missouri,
Nevada, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Vermont,
Tennessee, Arkansas, Connecticut, New Hampshire, South
Carolina, Alabama, North Carolina, and Georgia, in all 27
And whereas, The whole number of States in the United
States is 36.
And whereas, The before specially named States, whose
Legislatures have ratified the said proposed Amendment,
constitute three-fourths of the whole number of States in the
224 Recollections and Experiences.
Now, therefore, be it known that I, William H. Seward,
Secretary of State of the United States, by virtue and in
pursuance of the second section of the act of Congress,
approved the 20th of April, 1818, entitled "An Act to pro-
vide for the publication of the laws of the United States, and
for other purposes," do hereby certify that the Amendment
aforesaid has become valid to all intents and purposes as a
part of the Constitution of the United States.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and
caused the seal of the Department of State to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this 18th day of December,
in the year of our Lord 1865, and of the Independence of the
United States of America the 90th.
WM. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
Thus terminated the great struggle between
Freedom and Slavery in the United States.
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UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO LIBRARY